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  • Eric Marshburn

January 2022 - Eric's Ethereal Cereal

The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. John 1:14b The Message

Conductor, and inspirational speaker, Benjamin Zander recounts the following story.

“One of my most vivid childhood memories is of my father, dressed in a three piece suit, leaving on the overnight train to Glasgow. I asked my mother how long he would be gone, and she assured me I would see him the next evening. “Your father has some things he wants to discuss with a gentleman in Glasgow. They will have breakfast in the Glasgow Railway Station, and then he will take the next train back to London.” “Is this a special friend of his?” young Ben asked. Mother responded, that the gentleman was no one that he would know, and someone with whom his father only had a brief acquaintance. Zander admits that this answer puzzled him. He was only eight or nine years old at the time. “Later I asked (my father) why he had not simply used the telephone.” With raised eyebrows, shining eyes, and an index finger pointed back at me, my father answered: “Certain things in life are better done in person.”

Madeleine L’Engle frames the mystery and the miracle of the incarnation with these questions …

Cribb’d, cabined, and confined within the contours of a human infant. The infinite defined by the finite? The Creator of all life thirsty and abandoned? Why would (God) do such a thing? Aren’t there easier ways for God to redeem fallen creatures?

In short, the answer could be something like, “Why, yes, but the relationship between God and humanity has never been an easy one.” This Christmas we would do well to pause and ponder the good news of a God who chooses to practice hospitality in an often inhospitable world, among inhospitable folk just like us. As John reminds us in the opening scene of his gospel:

He was in the world, the world was there through him, and yet the world didn’t even notice. He came to his own people, but they didn’t want him. John 1:10c- 11 The Message

Richard Rohr seems to think that we all suffer (at least with some regularity) from a collective case of, “lookin’ for LOVE in all the wrong places.”

“So where is this God revealing God’s self? Certainly not in the “safe” world, but at the edge, at the bottom, among those people and places where we don’t want to find God, where we don’t look for God, where we don’t expect God. The way we’ve shaped Christianity, one would think it was all about being nice and middle class and “normal” and under the law. In the Gospels, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph are none of those things, so they might just be telling us we should be looking elsewhere for our status and dignity. Maybe the reason that our knowledge of God is so limited is because we’ve been looking for God in places we consider nice and pretty. Instead, God chooses the ordinary and messy.”

The poet, Luci Shaw, helps me be more grounded (rooted, en-fleshed, incarnate) this Christmas in lines from her poignant, “It Is As If Infancy We’re The Whole Of Incarnation.”

“Yet if we celebrate, let it be that he has invaded our lives with purpose, striding over our picturesque traditions, our shallow sentiment, overturning our cash registers, wielding his peace like a sword, rescuing us into reality demanding much more than the milk and the softness and the mothers warmth of the baby in the storefront creche, (only the Man would ask all, of each of us) reaching out always, urgently, with strong effective love (only the Man would give his life and live again for love of us).

The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.John 1:14b The Message. Selah!

Blessings & Peace,

Pastor Eric

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