Many people have proposed different theories about the astronomical events that led the Magi to Jesus. While we might not ever definitely know the scientific event itself, there is enough scientific data to support the idea of a God that can use physical phenomena to accomplish his salvific purposes.
We’ve had this remarkable evening, year after year, on which we come together for a little while to sing songs, to pray in hopes of feeling connected, to hear a story of a little place that comes out big, of a fleeting moment that turns out to be eternal, of an event that seems insignificance in a world of big plans and big ideas and big struggles, but that becomes the beginning of the most potent, meaningful, and world-changing story of all.
We were not left alone to navigate the disagreements between those gifted in recognizing the workings of the Spirit and others inclined toward materialism. God knew there are doubting Thomases among us who need to see, touch, and even be touched.
It’s hard to wait, especially when you know something exciting and life-changing is just around the corner. A cell’s life, much like our own, is characterized by moments of excitement and action and moments of monotony and waiting.
What’s weird about the assertion that Joseph and others were gullible because they weren’t scientific is that the assertion ignores what we read in the Bible: Joseph was shocked by Mary’s pregnancy.
When we look at 2020, when we look at this world—a year marked by the exposure of racism in America, political division, and the deadly COVID pandemic—can we have either optimism or hope?
The present moment finds us still in the midst of an ongoing global pandemic. We face the harsh reality that the world as we once knew it has indeed already passed. We remain unsure of what or when the world to come will arrive. And so we now live within a liminal space between the “what was” and the “next….” How, then, are we to navigate our present circumstances as people of faith? By entering into the wilderness of grief.
If you are anything like me, you are feeling a general uneasiness as we enter Advent. We’re still isolated and beginning to ponder the likelihood of a virtual (or at least socially distanced) Christmas Eve. How can we remember when we are not gathered, telling the stories of young Mary and John the Baptist? What is lost when we don’t light candles and sing Silent Night, Holy Night?
There are many ways to come to know things, and while the analytic, scientific perspective may be the preferred method for many in our Western, educated culture, it is certainly not the only way.
What difference does it make that Jesus was a cultural being, born into a specific culture? “With the incarnation, to quote Karl Barth, ‘theology has become anthropology because God has become man.”