Jesus to Naruto and Superman: “Take notes”
Finally back to blogging – thanks for hanging around guys =)
I’ve always found the idea of locomotion pretty cool. I think time travel, flying, Naruto and stuff I obviously can’t do. I googled the definition earlier this afternoon, and this is what popped up on Merriam-Webster: “an act or the power of moving from place to place.” I’ll come back to this idea in a bit.
In talking with my wife about our faith this past week, I was reminded that there’s an unmistakable desire felt in our humanity. Augustine called it the restlessness of our nature; sometimes, preachers describe it as a god-shaped hole. Any one of us might say that we experience it when, in our cultural ennui, we grasp for something more substantive than what we have or experience. In our own individual ways, we medicate ourselves on success, sex, prestige, power or significance. Even our innocuous pastimes – Kingdom Rush, reading, hobbies, NBA playoffs, movies – can morph into an unhealthy deterrent (or if you want old school, an idol) that keeps us from life. For the record, I’m bummed about the Spurs losing the Finals. Also, my wife and I are going to watch Man of Steel this weekend. We’re a week late, but can’t wait!!
Some claim that when you pursue God or gods, meaning or purpose are not too far behind. Yet in Christian faith, we find that the opposite is true. God, in the incarnation of Jesus Christ, pursues us. He ascribes significance to us in the Person of Jesus. He draws near, miraculously and peculiarly entering into our humanity, the very thing he created and sustains. Why? Because Scripture speaks about how it is impossible for us to please him in our own damaged and sinful being (Rom. 3:23). So when we could not reach him, he lovingly reached us in Jesus Christ, the Logos who, through his death and resurrection, mediates on our behalf for our good.
What does all that mean?
Let’s say that the previous paragraph is a pile of rocks dumped in front of your lawn, and your life is a home under construction. (I know – it’s a random metaphor, but there’s a lot of construction going on around my neighborhood, so it was the first thing that popped into my head). As the framing that holds and supports you goes up, you recognize that you’re in process, and the pile of rocks is probably for you at some point in the future. But then construction stops. There’s no more visible activities – no walls go up, no electrical wiring comes in. Everything just ceases. Soon you grow accustomed to the rocks, acknowledging them while not really caring too much about them anymore. You learn to become comfortable, even though you are only half-complete, a shadow of your true self. But the truth is, without those rocks surrounding you, you’re naked, exposed and destitute to the elements. There’s nothing you can do now except maybe grasp out to catch a floating newspaper that that wind brings you. But deep down, you know nothing even comes close to making your complete. Nothing. Until suddenly one day, the builder and the architect show up. They take the rocks and all the other materials, and they finish the work they started. They even throw in the crown moldings and upgrade your bathrooms to Italian marble. Italian marble! You got your sink with that awesome insinkerator. Vegetable pieces, watch out! And your newly minted A/C unit, just in time for summer. You’re set.
That’s what God does in the Incarnation. He comes to us in Jesus, who completes each one of us. He removes the scraps of newspaper and surrounds us with the rocks that always pointed to his intentions and his person. He fills your home, your being.
In Jesus, who is both the builder and the architect of our lives, we see the locomotion of God. We see Jesus, who moves from his eternal divinity into our frail humanity, that he might renew us. In his historical life, death and resurrection, Jesus shows up to finish and redeem what he began in us. Coolest thing – as God, he embodied our humanity. In every way, he was like us, he “gets” us, yet he also remained God, conquering our sin, our cultural ennui, our shame, guild and fear, that we might have life in him. In our paralysis, he moved to meet us.
And he’s still moving – in our world and in your life. Do you see his locomotion?
Picture credit: redletterchristians.org
For more on Christ, here’s a cool presentation that recently resurfaced on my radar.