Monday, December 15, 2008

God moves in

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14

Camping is a good way to get to know people. When I was growing up my family would go on a camping trip a couple times a year. This meant that instead of five people trying to coexist in one house, we now were crammed into one big canvas tent. You get to know your family (if against your will) in those circumstances.

We would go to "Sandsprit Park" in Stuart, Florida, in the heat of summer, at the height of mosquito season, in a canvas tent. It was a public park (still is – in fact the pictures I googled look like a serious upgrade from what I remember!). And being a public park we learned a lot about the other campers, especially the drunken fishing buddies two campsites down! But you learn about the nice ones too – the lady who shares some charcoal with you, the family making s'mores for anyone who walks by, the retired couple fishing off the seawall who show you how to bait a hook properly. You can't hide things from other campers like you can in your neighborhood back home.

So when God wanted to reveal himself to lost mankind, He chose the closest of human proximities – he pitched a tent.

When the Apostle John says "dwelt among us", the word "dwelt" is the same as the word for "tent". John's readers would have recognized the reference immediately: the Old Testament Tabernacle (literally "tent") – where God dwelt among his people! In the Old Testament when God wanted to draw close to His people he pitched a tent.

But when God want to reveal himself to a lost and dying world in the ultimate way, He "tabernacled among us" in His Son, Jesus Christ. In Jesus, God dwells among us in a personal way!

And, unlike our neighbors, this neighbor is glorious!

" ..and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth."

Glory is a pretty awesome thing. When glory comes down people fall on their faces, shield their eyes, and fear for their lives. Glory is nothing less than the visible manifestation of God!

And John is telling us that Jesus is the true glory of God! Pretty stunning truth about a kid from Bethlehem. And yet there it is – the glory of God, in human form, camping next door. And all this for us. Like the Nicene Creed says, "Who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven". "For us"?! That's grace! (And truth!)

So this season think about this: God has drawn near to us - will you draw near to Him?

The well wisher of your soul's happiness,

Pastor Tom

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