A Picture of Love (understanding incarnation)

– David and Beks with Geoffrey

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father; that will be enough for us.”

Jesus replied, “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been with you all this time? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I have spoken to you I don’t speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me does his works.”

John 14:8-10

I just have to use this image (above) to support today’s writing. In fact, this photograph could work alone as today’s post. Because I am talking about “Love,” and something grabbed me in the portrait that I am going to try to interpret via a few words.

Part of what is difficult and at the same time wonderful about the Christmas story is how Jesus came to vaporize the massive disconnect between how we understand God and how we experience humanity. It’s as if, in order to wrap our heads around the “God” idea, we continually impose an unbridgeable distance between The Creator and the created.

God, one philosopher-theologian suggested, is by definition greater than the greatest thought we can conceive. Another put it this way, the moment we describe God it is no longer God we are talking about. Now I love these heady ideas, and they typically help me when it comes to thinking about the idea of The Creator. But at the same time such observations can easily remove God from any real accessibility. That is not what we want.

What we want, what we need, is a God we can relate to and actually know.

This of course is the genius of Jesus. “If you have seen me you have seen the Father.” “If you know me you know the father.” “Jesus – in whom all the Godhead is pleased to dwell.”

Jesus replied, “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been with you all this time? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’”?

For God in all his fullness
    was pleased to live in Christ…

John 14:8-10. Colossians 1:19

All these are truths and they help. But God’s “relatability” is so much more, and I think I understand it a little better when I look at photographs like this of our grandchildren in Miami, of grandson Mr. T. in Bahrain, and images of Andrew and Naomi too.

Just look! I cannot begin to communicate the depth of the love I feel toward these tiny humans. I know there are children, adults, and those already passed into eternity who evoke the same response in you.

It is not just a surface warm feeling, topical, temporary; this is visceral, it is systemic, it is complete; this is love that can take your breath away.

This is how God relates to us. This is both God’s vulnerability and God’s prodigious, indomitable strength. This is, “Love came down at Christmas.” This is, “O love that will not let me go.” This is Agapē – beyond comprehension…. but within the grasp of our experience.

This is Jesus, and this is how God loves us. – DEREK

Last time all together (pre-Geoffrey)

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