God moves into the neighborhood

A very short blurb written for the weekly Christ and St Luke’s parish eTower newsletter and worship bulletin for Dec. 22nd

The Collect for the Fourth Sunday of Advent reads, “Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.”  [Episcopal Book of Common Prayer]

The image of Christ visiting a mansion brings to mind Saint Athanasius’ great work, On the Incarnation, and one of the images he uses to explain why God became human in Jesus:

“Through this union of the immortal Son of God with our human nature, all people were clothed with incorruption in the promise of the resurrection. For the solidarity of humankind is such that, by virtue of the Word’s indwelling in a single human body, the corruption which goes with death has lost its power over all. You know how it is when some great king enters a large city and dwells in one of its houses; because of his dwelling in that single house, the whole city is honored, and enemies and robbers cease to molest it. Even so is it with the King of all; He has come into our country and dwelt in one body amidst the many, and in consequence the designs of the enemy against humankind have been foiled and the corruption of death, which formerly held them in its power, has simply ceased to be.” [St. Athanasius, On the Incarnation, Chapter 2. (Altered for inclusive language) ]

As we celebrate the Christmas season, may we know that we ourselves are the habitation of the most Holy One, Creator of all that is, who has come to dwell within and among us.  Amen.

–  The Reverend Gillian Barr

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