Isaiah 52:7-10 | Psalm 98 | John 1:1-14

I remember beginning seminary, still a little nervous that I would be found out to be the heretic I knew I truly was deep down inside. Take Jesus for example. I could never wrap my mind around this “Son of God” stuff. What a relief to discover that “Son of God” was another way of describing the indescribable…Jesus of Nazareth was literally GOD INCARNATE…GOD in a physical body, walking around as a human being. Trying to get us to understand…Trying to get us to RE-MEMBER who WE are. Every living thing has been imprinted by the Creator of all that IS. Every one of us has been created in the image & likeness of God. Look in the mirror. Now look deeper. Look into your own eyes…Do you see? Do you see the LIGHT? The Light of your own Soul? When you are in the presence of someone you really & truly LOVE, do you FEEL the energy of that LOVE? That ENERGY, that LOVE is the imprint of GOD…The Creator, the Author of LOVE & LIGHT. And EVERY living thing – every plant, every animal, every molecule of water in the ocean, rivers & streams, the soil that births & grounds life that feeds us. And we are ALL inter-dependent. We are all inter-connected. We are all pieces of the same puzzle.

I believe this life is a school of sorts. And we are all here to both teach and to learn. We’re all – ultimately – taking the same curriculum….But we may not all be in the same classes at the same time. The curriculum? It’s LOVE. GOD-LOVE. It’s a challenge to wrap our minds around the enormity of this LOVE. Sometimes we forget…We forget who WE are…WE forget who every single one of us is…Our egos get in the way. Necessary as they are, they can definitely side-track & confuse us…taking us off course, if you will.

Verna Dozier, a wonderful Episcopal theologian & educator wrote a book called, “The Dream of God.” In a nutshell, she maintains that GOD chose to be born as a human being in the person of Jesus of Nazareth to help us remember who WE are. Who WE have been created to be. JESUS is the template. And here’s the big AHA! (For me anyway!) God didn’t come to us as Jesus for us to WORSHIP JESUS, but to FOLLOW JESUS. There is an important distinction between WORSHIPPING & FOLLOWING. WORSHIPPING someone is to put them on a pedestal…When someone is on a pedestal, we look UP to them, meaning they are some distance from us…They are, in some way, DIFFERENT/OTHER than us. WORSHIPPING Jesus can be distancing him from us, rather than engaging in a profound, loving relationship with him. In other words, we’re not supposed to make Jesus an IDOL. That becomes idol-worship. But there is a way in which we may FOLLOW JESUS that is close to but not the same as idolizing him.  “WORSHIP” is supposed to mean we hold in the highest esteem, the highest value to our lives. “WORSHIP” is the root of the word “WORTHSHIP,” as in recognizing our truest selves IN him,  and recognizing HIM in US…In this sense, he is our BELOVED, and WE are JESUS’/GOD’s BELOVED. That’s what GOD WANTS to happen! 

To RE-MEMBER who we are & whose we are…  LOVE the Lord your God with ALL of who you are… And LOVE your neighbor as yourself…INCARNATIONIncarnate….God-in-a-body. THIS is why WE are hereALL of us, human & every other form of life on this planet…To RE-MEMBER WHO we are & WHOSE we areThe Curriculum is LOVETo LIVE as LOVE INCARNATE. This is what the Feast of the Incarnation – Christmas – is to me…

Love, Pam Gregory+

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