Rob Brazier, of Love and Blunder blog, writes about the incarnation of Christ. This is a great Christmas post! He writes that "the most fundamental difference between the doctrine of my modern evangelical upbringing and my current understanding as a confessional Lutheran is the incarnation of Christ. What I was misunderstanding for many years: Christ is the Word, He became flesh, and dwelt among us."
"Confusion about Christ's incarnation leads to confusion about faith itself. Because of such an incomplete understanding of who Christ is, where He is, and what He does, I was often confused about the nature of faith. Rather than a gift given from God, I saw faith as something I had to work to get more of. When I didn't feel like I was successful, I questioned whether I was even a Christian."Until recently, I had no idea what "faith comes by hearing" really meant. Whenever my conscience was assailed, I was told to turn inward, to my shifting perception of my faith, rather than to the objective reality of Christ's work on the cross, and his real presence in the preached word, communion, and baptism."
This is my story! I sometimes feel selfish to be glad to find others who suffered through poor and incomplete Christian teachings. Yet, we made it through to write about it all, didn't we. And in enough time not to mess up our own kids! (Although a good Christian man just reminded me that we will find other ways to mess up our kids- thanks, Andy, for bringing me back down to reality.)
Listen to Rob's advice. Read it aloud to someone:
"Sit still in church, listen to the words the pastor speaks, and you can almost hear God breathing. When the pastor pronounces us forgiven, we are hearing in his voice the voice of the Word, the Son of God who laid the foundations of the world, spun the stars into the sky, drew up high mountains from the low ground, and onto the desert spilled the waters of the seas. In that place, Christ is closer than any lover, He is putting Himself into us and us into Himself."
After the confession and absolution, one of our pastors says "We have approached God. Now God approaches you with His Word." He proclaims this with a huge smile on his face and joy in his voice. It gets me every time. Each Sunday, that chill goes down my spine with the realization that God is still speaking to us, right there in our Bibles. Open and read.