In this third week of our Across the Universe series we are reminded that the counter-cultural beauty of the Christmas story is in the reality that the God who created the vast expanses of the universe became small and vulnerable. While it is often the case that we marvel at what is grand and big, the message at Christmas is that oftentimes the most profound experiences of God are in the seemingly mundane moments of life. Our call is to be a people who remember and remind others that the God of the universe does not only go half way for us, and so we should go all the way in love for others.
6 thoughts on “Invasion of Light”
Greg was incredible in this message; the Spirit and the Son and the Father were alive in his preaching!
Each and all can go all the way up the mountain thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
While accepting Greg’s ‘treatise’ on ‘normal’ towards the end of the message, in it’s correct context normal has a lot to offer the believer. If our thoughts go back to the Garden when the first couple were created, they had all the gifts and graces from their Creator that made them a normal human being in His eyes, reflecting His image. They were rightly related to God, Creation and each other (the whole context was ‘very good’ and unified).
However, they were tempted into believing that rather than be normal they could be as God. This choice destroyed their ‘normality’ and they became abnormal to the extent that their previously related unity had become disunity. Man could no longer correctly relate to God, Creation and each other and could therefore not be considered normal as created. As man continues to aspire to be God in this Creation the more his disunity (sin) is evidenced as he seeks to be someone or something he was never designed to be.
It was not until the Incarnation that we see another normal human being born into this world.
In recent times, we have had the likes of “Jesus Christ, Superstar” where His persona is elevated to “Superman” or “Super Human” status. Relative to fallen man this may be an appropriate comparison, but this is not the reality. Jesus lived the life of a normal human being…sure, His mission was unique, but He obeyed The Father as the first couple also should have.
As Greg pointed out, it was the work of the Cross that changes things. When applied to the believer it brings him/her back to normality whereby they can now correctly relate to God, Creation and each other. Therefore we, as believers, cannot seek to be any better or worse than normal ie a son of God, otherwise, we find ourselves desiring to be something other than what God designed.
Similarly, each believer has a role to play in the family that is no better or worse than any other believer as we are all part of the same Body and have unique roles to play. As one theologian described a couple where he was a pastor and she was his wife. The pastor went out one night and preached and saved one hundred souls while his wife stayed home and did the dishes and her household duties. Who was doing the will of God? They both were within their respective capacities of being normal human beings in His kingdom.
So, in the context that I have described, I would think all believers would be filled with joy to be described as normal human beings.
Peter, I wonder about the context of the word normal in this 21st Century. To me it is a word that seems to suggest a construct which comes from the world of human science, statistics, and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. (#5)
As one who finds significant knowledge valuable in such practical scientific normative ‘compasses’ I have to say for myself, the experience of the Lord in common events and relationships is what I humbly hope and pray to seek in the first and last steps of my life’s work. Plus, the healing given by God’s Holy Spirit is even more stunning and powerful, right alongside caring medical care.
Of course my literally 100s of hours of work as a chaplain in state mental hospital settings have mandated some ‘small’ amounts of humility at least some of the time…! LOL
By the way, my wife is a clergy person as am I. I do most of the cooking and washing of the dishes. Or to be honest, our dishwasher does more than I do! LOL
I really appreciate your writing and thinking around the thought of normal; when God comes to us and shares our common lot in the Incarnation. Plus, God conquers sin and death through the power of the cross in the Atonement.
It seems Jesus shatters the world of ‘normal’ in a very radical way. As Paul puts it: “a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to the Greeks.” 1 Corinthians 1:23.
Don’t you love the title of Greg’s message: ‘The Invasion of the Light’ !
Thank you Mike, for your input .
I note your comments in regard to defining ‘normal’ but my thoughts are probably a lot more basic. My thinking is along the lines of this definition, “Normal is used to describe individual behaviour that conforms to the most common behaviour in society”.
In reality, because society is so influenced by fallen mankind, we are effectively trying to describe someone as ‘normal’ who is being compared to an abnormal society…at least in God’s eyes. Perhaps this was at heart, some of the exasperation that Greg was expressing on normality.
The point I was making is that man as created was ‘normal’ in every respect being in the Image of God. Through the Fall that ‘normality’ (in God’s Kingdom) was lost but can be regained through the Christ.
The ‘parable’ the theologian told was designed to show that fallen man would praise the pastor for his efforts and probably depreciate those of his wife. However, in the Kingdom of God, it is like the workers in the field parable, where various groups of men were hired to work at different times, but in the end they were all paid the same. So in the Kingdom, the work of the pastor’s wife is no less (or more) valued than that of her husband.
The rest of my post is self-explanatory.
Hi Peter. I’m not sure but it seems that the comparison you made between the pastor and his wife isn’t correct. I think the better comparison would be the pastor seeing 100 saved at a meeting or the wife seeing 1 saved at the house.
Vince, I should thank you for attributing ‘the pastor and his wife’ comparison to me, but that came from the theologian who I was listening to as I mentioned in my first post. But nonetheless, my first reaction to what he said was probably like you, but I came to see the reality of working in the Kingdom is as I have described.
Your first reaction may be to probably focus on the different types of work both were doing…how can you balance ‘soul saving’ with ‘dishes’. But then you have come back, what if the wife saved one soul to try and make a comparison on that basis. If we did change the ‘parable’ the way you suggest then the whole point would be lost.
The Mat 20:1-16 parable that I mentioned effectively says, ‘all workers’ were rewarded and not based on their length of service or their productivity…unlike a worldly contract where ‘the first will be first and the last will be last’ in terms of reward. But Jesus says, “the first will be last, and the last first”, He is effectively turning the matter on its head to say, there is no worldly ‘order’ in the Kingdom, where all Kingdom work is equally (well) rewarded. Another theologian commenting on this parable says, “We do not need to compare the value of our gifts and our contributions to others. We do not need to begrudge God’s invitation to another, or to feel that our efforts are not valuable because they are not as obvious, as dramatic, and as long-standing as those of others”.
One can also see the obvious, that if our rewards were based on productivity or length of service, then this may only be a whisker away from becoming works based salvation, where those works are based on ambition rather than love.
There are further aspects on the matter you raise and what I have provided is but a starting point and I suggest books that deal with the Bible’s parables may be the way to go.