Monday night of our sabbatical week, I woke myself up several times coughing (I had felt the sore throat during the day on Monday, but I didn't have a cough). It quickly became bad enough that I went to the doctor first thing Tuesday morning. After diagnosing me with two different infections (one in my ear and one in my throat), she looked me in the eye and asked, "You weren't planning on getting out of bed for 3 or 4 days, were you?" "Uh, I guess I'm not now."
So, I got the rest I was hoping for--and a lot more. The great news is that I was able to read. I LOVE to read and had been doing less and less of it since we arrived in Poland 6 months ago. I read the Bible and our Guide to Prayer. I read Man's Search for Meaning and Redeeming Love. I also read The Professional Barista's Handbook that Aaron got me for Christmas (thanks, love!). Through all of this I rediscovered something I had forgotten I had ever known. To understand this, I need to back you up a couple of months.
After talking to many people here and reading "A Generous Orthodoxy" in October, I began a search for a more simple way to "explain" Jesus' coming. I'm sure this is a topic I will explore in many, many ways throughout my days, but lately I have been praying for something specific. Something simple that could resonate with a searching person about my age. This week, I found it (again). I'm sure this explanation has been given to me before, but for some reason, this time, it hit home....
Imagine you are God. You are all-powerful, in and through everything, and yet invisible. You have created people share life and love with. You have reached out to man in various ways over the years, again and again. Prophets, scrolls, rocks, and bushes have worked together to show your love and protection. But after many, many years of receiving these messages, man seems to begin missing them. Suddenly, the declarations and prophets you send are no longer getting your message of love, peace, and hope through to your people. As time goes on, they begin to be lost within themselves, no longer recognizing your presence among them. Fighting brews among them as they forget they are Your creation. You must do something. You must give your children a way to understand you. It's got to be intimate, a language they will finally understand. A language that is their own. Their own. That's it. You've tried everything, there is now no other choice. You must become one of them. It is the only way they can understand the invisible God now. You must go to them and show yourself (even if it means they are afraid of what they see and seek to destroy you). Suddenly you realize that to show that you are a God who is personal, you must show yourself God as a person. "At last we can talk about God in terms we understand, human terms." -Reuben P. Job
This is a little dramatic, but for the people I have encountered here, it is going to make so much more sense than legal or individualistic ways of "explaining" Jesus. Granted it is not perfect, just a beginning.
Colossians 1:15, 19-20 "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation....For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross."
For more on this topic, see, "A Guide to Prayer for All God's People," pages 47-55