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Humanity In the Flesh

Updated: May 17, 2020

John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.

It is usually at Christmas we hear the word “incarnation” - a key belief in Christianity. That God became flesh, Jesus.

This word may not seem very catchy, or even very important. Yet our understanding of God-in-the-flesh should dramatically shape how we do life.

The first reason is obvious. Jesus came in the flesh. This truth points us to a God who cares for humanity enough to enter our world. A God who understands this world because He experienced it not from afar, but first hand in the flesh.

In a world powered by technology, there are many things that we know about. Every day we are able to see what other countries experience when we turn on the news. We are able to travel. We are able to welcome people from other countries and learn. And care.

I think of a time when women of our church gathered to spend time with John Muhanji, a mission partner from Kenya. He shared with us stories of what God was doing in East Africa. And we cared. In fact, the women along with the rest of our church, cared enough to help send me to Kenya and Tanzania to visit with John further.

There I had the blessing of hearing stories from people directly. I heard from the women about their desire to educate to prevent the practice of FGM. I heard of the struggles and sacrifices pastors were making for the Good News of Jesus Christ. I celebrated their success stories.  And I cared. I got to see Tanzania in-the-flesh, meet people, love people, and understand more than I ever could from afar. I remain changed and indebted for the opportunity.

There is something special about being with people.

Weeks of social distancing have reminded us of this. We yearn for human contact. For hugs. For touch. Even for coffee and conversion. People, in the flesh.

It is interesting to think that God, who can do anything because he is all-powerful, chose to do life in the flesh with us. He chose the incarnation as a way to transform lives and bring water to thirsty souls. In fact, God throughout history has chosen to use people to unfold each chapter of His redemption story.

There is really something special about being with people.

It is also interesting that the church is incarnational. Not reduced to a building, God’s spirit dwells in each person. God’s presence In our flesh.  Not that we are god, but that He has deposited His Spirit into each believer’s flesh clad soul, and called us to do as He has done; to make His [in]dwelling among others.

Acts 2:46-47 tells us:

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

There is really something special about being with people.

While we have marveled at technology to be able to bring us together, it is a less than ideal imitation of the incarnation; Bodies and voices on screens when we crave in-the-flesh relationship. The ability to cry together, laugh together, and eat with others. To see their home, to have long conversations about hard topics without time lags, slow speeds, and software crashes.  The ability to look deeply into someone’s eyes and understand.

If you are feeling you lost something when the churches temporarily closed their doors, you are not wrong. We did. We lost the incarnational ministry that God showed us was so important that He did it Himself.  It is ok to grieve that loss.

Let us grieve. Let us feel our loss.

And then. When the time is right, let it motivate us to have the most vibrant worship together to strengthen us, and fuel us for the intentional, relational ministry with our community and world that history has ever known.

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