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Galatians 1:11-24
For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man's gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord's brother. (In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!) Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only were hearing it said, "He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy." And they glorified God because of me. (ESV)
A Risk God Is Willing To Take
Wednesday After All Saints
4 November 2015
Lutherans espouse the principle that the "finite is capable of the infinite." This means that God can do what He says He can do. In God saying and doing belong together. This presumes not only that Christ can be incarnate of the Virgin by taking finite human flesh, that is flesh subject to mortality and all the changes and chances of mortal life, but also that He is able to speak about that taking in a way that permits its being delivered to us humans whom this message is intended to benefit. The Word of God becomes incarnate that He might incarnate the message in the Word of God. It does us no good for the Word to become incarnate without the message of the incarnation being delivered to us poor sinners who need it to share in the divine gift of the incarnation. Neil Postman's classic criticism of the modern media, Amusing Ourselves to Death, provides a short history of information technology that caused news reports of little value to the hearer to be communicated over vast distances. Information is one thing. Useful information is entirely another. The most important information ever shared in the world of humans is that the Word became flesh in Christ and that He wiped out the world's sin by His life, death, and resurrection. To have come among us and told no one, would have been worse than useless, it would have been immoral. Proclamation of the Word is pregnant with the incarnation of the Word.
Nor does God merely share information, as though He were a news reporter. The divine report of the incarnation is more than information, it places us within the scene. God's Word re-images among humans the substance that it offers. Christ still comes among us as the incarnate Lord through the delivery of the Word of God on the lips of our pastors. Many moderns mock this as impossible and silly. They point to the weakness of the proclaimers, their susceptibility to error, and the earth-bound nature of human communication. They ask, 'How could mere words deliver the divine and saving truth to us humans? How could stammering and tongue-tied people disclose the depth of the divine self-revelation?' In other words, the word could not give us the Word and the finite is not capable of the infinite.
But the ability of the divine Word of Scripture to convey Christ Himself to us is no more likely than that the specific human being born of Mary in Bethlehem could have been God of God. It is no more likely than that the blood that trickled from the nail wounds could save the world from sin, or that the gushing flood that spurted from his wounded side could wash away the sin of the world filling our fonts with life. It is no more likely that the one pinioned between two thieves in a tawdry execution scene displays to us the suffering of God in the world. If He has endured such rough handling for our sakes, He will place His truth in our mouths for rough handling too, seeking through it, to give Himself to the world in the Word. This is a risk that God is willing to take to save us.


Gregory Nazianzus

"What Christ was, He laid aside. What He was not, He assumed. Not that He became two, but He deigned to be one made out of the two. For both are God, that which assumed, and that which was assumed; two natures meeting in one, not two Sons (let us not give a false account of the unity). He who is such and so great. But what has befallen me? I have fallen into human language. For how can 'so great' be said of the absolute? How can that which is without quantity be called 'such'? But pardon the word, for I am speaking of the greatest things with a limited instrument. That great, long-suffering, formless, and bodiless divine nature will endure this, namely, my words as from a human body and that weaker than the truth. For if He condescended to assume flesh, He will also endure such language." 

Gregory Nazianzus, Theological Oration, 37.2
Lord Jesus, You are the Word become flesh. Send Your written Word to us that we might always have You among us. Endow the proclaimers You send with the courage to shout from the mountaintops the joy of Your salvation. Amen.
For all who travel professionally, that they would be safe in their travels and that their homecomings would be joyful
Leslie Roch, that the Lord would bring her strength and healing as she struggles with cancer therapy
For the people of Houston as they consider the results of citywide polling, that civil tranquility would be respected by all citizens
Art: Dürer, Albrecht  The Adoration of the Trinity (1515) 

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