His Brand of Love

I have not even begun to love the world as the Father loves the world: a love that loves all that Love has made before we loved him.

While we were strangers and wandering after false gods, Christ lays his life down for the life of the world because the Father loves us from before he made the stars.

I have not even begun to love as Love loves.

This conviction settled on me this evening, listening to Pearl Jam’s “Sirens” in a 4x4 with my kids, Eddie Vedder’s not-entirely-hopeless lament accompanying our trek across melting snow.

There are many things in this world that bring delight, affection, awe and joy: the laughter of children, a sun that crowns tree tops with gold or the sky with flame, a well-played violin or banjo, the fragrance of honeysuckle vine on the night air, the feel of clay underfoot, the texture and taste of an orange, the sacred geometry of a snowflake, the company of friends.

But love, love that triumphs over evil and death, is something far stronger than mere affection, delight or veneration; it is harder; it demands we love what is not lovely, gracious, or exquisite.

This Love sheds its life blood, empties its soul life, for what is distasteful, resentful, impure, boastful, jealous, arrogant, murderous, envious, and sure of its rightness. Loves gives itself for what is not love.

When the body of Christ comes to love the world as the Father and Son love the world—a love that loves the world just as the world *is* in all its ugly indifference, terror, doubt, cynicism, rebellion, hatred, confusion, abuse, denial, blood thirst, and accusation—for love’s sake alone, redemption draws near to all.

If you listen to and observe the body of Christ, you might be pardoned for thinking that the primary mission of the church was the proper identification, classification, and condemnation of the world’s sins; we are cold scientists for it; when, instead, the church’s sole purpose is to proclaim God’s radical pardon, in which is found real, permanent forgiveness: the highest form of love known to man.

If I overhear the irreverent words of those who despise Christ, or observe those whose actions betray their ignorance of God’s love, starting with observing my own; when I discern the mystery of the image of God in every single man and woman—whatever their state of mind or reputation of life or disposition toward God and others—and find myself inexplicably drawn out of myself and moved with compassion for them, just as they are in the moment of their worst or best selves—like I felt connected to Eddie Vedder’s lament tonight, wherever he is—I am beginning to experience the deep love of the triune God for the world.

I get glimpses of this love in myself from time to time, this unfathomable agape, and pray it overwhelms my pride, ignorance, accusation and fear—that it overpowers my divided heart—so I might always demonstrate the power of this divine community’s holy love.

Jesus, who is the divine community of wisdom and love made flesh, demonstrates the authenticity of his words by radical, self-denying acts of pure charity.

Jesus is the highest revelation of divine love but he is also—we often neglect this—human love made perfect. He invites us, as his human brothers and sisters, to participate by grace in the perfections of his unique brand of love.

Indeed, Jesus commands us to love one another as he loves us: by the measure of God’s love and of human love in Jesus Christ. Loving others as we love ourselves is one level of commanded love but now there is a new and greater command: love others as Christ loves us. This requires the Spirit.

His followers somehow want our words to ring true in the absence of an active love that puts our everything, our life’s blood, on the line for the sake of all.

Since the foundation of the world rests on the sacrifice of Christ, his voluntary offer

ing of his entire self, there is no way after Christ to establish credibility apart from love.

CHRISTMAS IS FOR WORSHIP
"It’s time to worry a lot less about getting Christ back into Christmas (he can’t be blasted out of Christmas, no matter how hard anyone tries).
”What needs to get back into Christmas is worship. As it was with the shepherds and angels, Christmas is about worship before it’s about anything else: falling on our knees, falling flat on our faces, adoring the brilliance of this God who comes to us as a baby, lying in a feed trough, breathing with other animals, wrapped tightly against the cold and the anxiety of leaving his mother’s womb.”
Read more of this essay by Pastor Kenneth.

CHRISTMAS IS FOR WORSHIP

"It’s time to worry a lot less about getting Christ back into Christmas (he can’t be blasted out of Christmas, no matter how hard anyone tries).

What needs to get back into Christmas is worship. As it was with the shepherds and angels, Christmas is about worship before it’s about anything else: falling on our knees, falling flat on our faces, adoring the brilliance of this God who comes to us as a baby, lying in a feed trough, breathing with other animals, wrapped tightly against the cold and the anxiety of leaving his mother’s womb.”

Read more of this essay by Pastor Kenneth.

Saw the new Superman film Man of Steel and was intrigued how often its makers wanted the audience to think of their superhero as a type of Christ. Having him speak to a priest in a church about giving himself up to save the world with a stained-glass image of Jesus on his knees in Gethsemane in the background perhaps says it all. I heard a FOX News anchor suggest that its mixed reviews were owing to the film’s reliance on Christianity (for my thoughts on that and the film see below).

It’s tempting for contemporary Americans to think of Jesus along the mythos of Superman, an alien humanoid capable of extraordinary feats of strength, impervious to earthly elements, and virtually indestructible.

Yet Jesus is nothing like that. When the Son of God humbled himself he became like what he had made in the beginning with the Father. A quiet, wondrous mystery took shape in the womb of a Judaean teenager; he took on our shatterable humanity “in every respect.” This means he was vulnerable to all the frailties of earth-made and earth-bound humanity, as fragile as anyone with a skeleton, brain, lungs, heart, skin and a spinal cord.

He could be crushed by stoning, burned by fire, weakened by lack of water food or sleep; was susceptible to cuts, bruises, bacteria, radiation or gravity. His cause of death was likely exsanguination or bleeding out all his life blood. He swallowed up death forever by dying, in agony and disgrace without resistance or appeal to a violent defense.

All the “superhuman” things Jesus did he did as a mere human. Out of weakness he was strong and he only demonstrated divine power (when he did so) for the purpose of reconciling all flesh and all things to himself, always from a motive of love and never the will to power.

Jesus gave his life for the life of the world but not as a kind of demigod but as Emmanuel, God in clay, with us and for us.

We fashion gods all of the time. In ancient times we used to make them of clay. The brilliance of a God who has the humility to make himself clay in order to redeem clay and us deaf, dumb, and blind makers of clay idols drives me to my knees.

Lastly, Jesus is no mere literary figure or imagined hero but a real person of history like Abraham Lincoln. Superman—like so many other gods—is fashioned from whole cloth.

What did I think of the movie, you ask?

The early trailers of the film seemed to advertise a kind a Malick-like human story with miracles that almost make sense and small beauty. It looked like it might have a meditative pace and wrestle with the “humanity” of someone from another world, and those scenes are in the film but dispersed throughout a movie that is relentless in its mass destruction. That storyline is, for me, utterly lost in cascading building after cascading building. The potential was there but it seems these new directors want to give us 9/11 again and again but off the Richter magnitude scale and they just keep upping the ante.

I’m fairly certain that the negative reviews actually having nothing to do with its deep Christian subtext but with film critics who are weary of overblown desolation.
 
For a good idea of what the film meant for me, see Steven D. Greydanus’s review for the National Catholic Reporter: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/sdg-reviews-man-of-steel

Saw the new Superman film Man of Steel and was intrigued how often its makers wanted the audience to think of their superhero as a type of Christ. Having him speak to a priest in a church about giving himself up to save the world with a stained-glass image of Jesus on his knees in Gethsemane in the background perhaps says it all. I heard a FOX News anchor suggest that its mixed reviews were owing to the film’s reliance on Christianity (for my thoughts on that and the film see below).

It’s tempting for contemporary Americans to think of Jesus along the mythos of Superman, an alien humanoid capable of extraordinary feats of strength, impervious to earthly elements, and virtually indestructible.

Yet Jesus is nothing like that. When the Son of God humbled himself he became like what he had made in the beginning with the Father. A quiet, wondrous mystery took shape in the womb of a Judaean teenager; he took on our shatterable humanity “in every respect.” This means he was vulnerable to all the frailties of earth-made and earth-bound humanity, as fragile as anyone with a skeleton, brain, lungs, heart, skin and a spinal cord.

He could be crushed by stoning, burned by fire, weakened by lack of water food or sleep; was susceptible to cuts, bruises, bacteria, radiation or gravity. His cause of death was likely exsanguination or bleeding out all his life blood. He swallowed up death forever by dying, in agony and disgrace without resistance or appeal to a violent defense.

All the “superhuman” things Jesus did he did as a mere human. Out of weakness he was strong and he only demonstrated divine power (when he did so) for the purpose of reconciling all flesh and all things to himself, always from a motive of love and never the will to power.

Jesus gave his life for the life of the world but not as a kind of demigod but as Emmanuel, God in clay, with us and for us.

We fashion gods all of the time. In ancient times we used to make them of clay. The brilliance of a God who has the humility to make himself clay in order to redeem clay and us deaf, dumb, and blind makers of clay idols drives me to my knees.

Lastly, Jesus is no mere literary figure or imagined hero but a real person of history like Abraham Lincoln. Superman—like so many other gods—is fashioned from whole cloth.

What did I think of the movie, you ask?

The early trailers of the film seemed to advertise a kind a Malick-like human story with miracles that almost make sense and small beauty. It looked like it might have a meditative pace and wrestle with the “humanity” of someone from another world, and those scenes are in the film but dispersed throughout a movie that is relentless in its mass destruction. That storyline is, for me, utterly lost in cascading building after cascading building. The potential was there but it seems these new directors want to give us 9/11 again and again but off the Richter magnitude scale and they just keep upping the ante.

I’m fairly certain that the negative reviews actually having nothing to do with its deep Christian subtext but with film critics who are weary of overblown desolation.

 

For a good idea of what the film meant for me, see Steven D. Greydanus’s review for the National Catholic Reporter: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/sdg-reviews-man-of-steel

In Jesus Christ God leaves fingerprints and DNA wherever he goes; Jesus breathes the Spirit of the Father’s lovingkindness on all things. His blood, his touch, his stops of breath reconcile the Creator and the clay, that as female and male alone in all Creation bears his image.

He walks with us, walks *as* us, now, and we participate by our prayers, by our touch—sometimes even our blood—in the renewal of all things.

Draw close to the Bread of Life with me this weekend. His love—yes, even his love in us—sustains the world. O the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ IN YOU, the hope of glory.

In Jesus Christ God leaves fingerprints and DNA wherever he goes; Jesus breathes the Spirit of the Father’s lovingkindness on all things. His blood, his touch, his stops of breath reconcile the Creator and the clay, that as female and male alone in all Creation bears his image.

He walks with us, walks *as* us, now, and we participate by our prayers, by our touch—sometimes even our blood—in the renewal of all things.

Draw close to the Bread of Life with me this weekend. His love—yes, even his love in us—sustains the world. O the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ IN YOU, the hope of glory.

A Christmas Eve Sermon

image

Many years ago, after leading a Christmas Eve service like this one, the minister and writer, Frederick Buechner, had just settled into bed after working late into the night with his bride getting everything in place for Christmas: lights, ornaments, stockings, once-hidden presents set under the tree. The children tucked in. It was then, under his cozy blanket, that he remembered his neighbor’s sheep. He’d asked Frederick to feed them while he was away and, in the press of all the matters that make up a clergyman’s life, he’d forgotten, as I often forget, an important detail. Unfed sheep. Frederick tells us what happened next:

So down the hill I go through knee-deep snow. I get two bales of hay from the barn and carry them out to the shed. There’s a forty-watt bulb hanging by its cord from the low roof, and I light it. The sheep huddle in a corner watching as I snap the baling twine, shake the squares of hay apart and start scattering it. Then they come bumbling and shoving to get at it … puffs of their breath showing in the air. I reach to turn off the bulb and leave when suddenly I realize where I am. The winter darkness. The glimmer of light. The smell of the hay and the sound of the animals eating. Where I am is the manger.

I almost missed it…missed where I was standing. I whose business it is above everything else to have an eye for such things is all but blind in that eye. I who on my best days believe that everything that is most precious anywhere comes from that manger might easily have gone home to bed never knowing that I had just been in the manger. The world is the manger.

My world is the manger. Your world is the manger. We’re all in the manger where Christ is laid.

The Word become flesh and made his home among us, and Mary laid him in a manger, laid him in the heart of the world, for us and for our salvation.

"Ultimate Mystery born with a skull you could crush one-handed," as some unholy ‘doctors’ do. The everlasting made fragile. Incarnation. The scene is not tame like a Hallmark card. It is not beautiful. As with all non-anesthetized childbearing, agonized labor led to his birth. Even as celestial choirs serenade the shepherds with Gloria, there’s an angelic battle in the heavens (Revelation 12), eternity enters time, a tearing occurs in the fabric of reality. 

"We can only cover our eyes and shudder before it, kneel before this: ‘God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God…who for us and for our salvation came down from heaven.’"

He came down. He moved into our neighborhood. Not until then—not until it occurs to us that only Love could do something so self-emptying and impoverishing—do we dare uncover our eyes and see what we can see. It is the Resurrection and the Life that Mary now holds in her arms.

He who cannot be contained was contained in her teenage womb. The immense omnipotence of the Creator made as vulnerable as a baby, flailing his arms against the cold and the dark. The one who made all things now utterly dependent on Mary and Joseph for food, shelter, warmth, and life. Laid in a feed trough. Laid amid animal breath and straw and shit. Laid in our midst, for us and for our salvation.

The Case for Corporate Worship

My latest for Sojourners Magazine:

"A young woman, a house church attendee, told me she longs for solid pastoral guidance, a message prepared weekly by an authoritative teacher, for worship that places Jesus Christ at the exact center of a public space where everyone is welcome, a place where she can bring her disbelieving friends whose lives are not yet transformed by self-sacrificial Love, a place where they can speak openly and honestly about where their lives still remain isolated from a holy God, a place of worship that does not lean on any one person’s (or her personal) understanding and articulation of the Gospel but on the collective wisdom of the body of Christ.”

Do we have Jesus without the body of Christ? The answer is contained in the question, isn’t it? The language of the New Testament is alive with the inseparability of Jesus and his Bride.
American Christians too often imagine their personal relationship with Jesus is exclusive. Me and my Bible. Me and my Lord. Me and Jesus.
This must be said in love: The reason you know anything at all about Jesus is due to the body of Christ, because of Spirit-bearing, Christ-imitating witnesses, ancient and contemporary. You did not build that relationship with Jesus on your own.
Jesus has been mediated to all but the first disciples by a sacred community of redemption that gave us the Scriptures, birthed by the Holy Spirit of God at Pentecost. The Triune God breathed tongues of fire upon gathered men and women and bound the divine community’s saving mission in the world to hapless earthen vessels, reconciled to Father, Son and Spirit by the all-saving reality of Jesus’ life among us from conception to ascension.
Christ did not appear out of thin air. The Scriptures did not drop out of heaven, bound and printed. The Spirit of God hovered over Mary, mysteriously making the Son flesh of her flesh and bone of our bone. The Spirit of God breathed on the prophetic and apostolic writers and then preserved their inspired work over thousands of years.
These sentences are another way of saying that the Spirit moved within the Church to unite us in one Household by the witness of patriarchs, prophets and apostles, Jesus Christ himself being the Cornerstone. Paul declares her “the pillar and ground of the truth.”
Here’s something vital and essential to being found in Jesus Christ: We received Jesus from a great cloud of witnesses. We did not come to him without aid.
Abraham, Moses, David, Ruth, Isaiah, Daniel, Esther, Amos, John the Baptist, Elizabeth, Mary, Paul, John, Ignatius, Athanasius, John of Damascus, Mary of Egypt, Cyprian, Cyril of Alexandria, Basil, the Gregorys, Maximus, Palamas, Augustine, Thomas, Wycliffe, Julian, Luther, Wesley, Edwards, Therese, Barth, Bonhoeffer, Lewis, Schmemann, John Paul II, and Mother Teresa, among numberless others less known and better known than these, lead us to Jesus.
We have also received Jesus from intimate others who told us about him: parents, teachers, friends, martyrs, evangelists, pastors.
Being “in Christ” means being “in them” for they are “in him,” too. We are not alone in this. That is both a challenge and a comfort.
I cannot leave behind the community’s understanding of who Jesus is as God and Man without also abandoning my Lord. I cannot ignore the ways God’s Household reads the Scriptures. I cannot casually dismiss the ways the body of Christ worships, beginning with the first Christians. I cannot forget her sacred bath and sacred meal, for the Scriptures tell us we are incorporated into Christ’s death and resurrection and have eternal life by these sacraments. I cannot belittle the art and cultures the body of Christ has created by the Spirit in every time, people, and land. All of this is, after all, the work of the Spirit, leading the Church into all truth.
Now I can say that Jesus speaks to me directly (as he certainly does) and that I do not need this mediation, this witness, this culture, these Scriptural sacraments the Lord commands us to remember him by but—wow—where else in life do we so completely ignore what has gone before us, the origins and foundation of how we came to know and trust and belong to something, anything, Anyone?
This Person we cherish and adore in Jesus Christ comes among us from an eternal Community and invites us into relationship with them and with all men created in their Image. I am not saved alone.
It is also a comfort in this dark time not to bear the faith in isolation from the community that upholds it and sacrificially lives it out in holy awe down the centuries. I am not being saved alone.
As in every moment of God’s saving actions in Israel and in the Church, I am saved (am being saved) with a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people.
It’s not just me and Jesus. Being part of Jesus means being part of all those who are in him. As the New Testament affirms at every turn, no one who is in Christ ever dies. This sacred community serves “not the God of the dead, but the living, for to him all are alive.” Not one disciple of Jesus can be dismissed as “of the past” or “bygone.”
To paraphrase Chesterton, this Great Tradition is not the empty belief of the spiritually dead but the living faith of those who are forever alive in Jesus Christ.
I worship Father, Son, and Holy Spirit with the whole Church. I read the Scriptures with the whole Church. I take up my cross and follow Christ with the whole Church. I offer food, clothing, and water with the whole Church. I pray with the whole Church. I visit the sick and the prisoner with the whole Church. I love Jesus with the whole Church. I am never, ever alone in this reading, worship, prayer, sacrifice, service, presence and love!

Do we have Jesus without the body of Christ? The answer is contained in the question, isn’t it? The language of the New Testament is alive with the inseparability of Jesus and his Bride.

American Christians too often imagine their personal relationship with Jesus is exclusive. Me and my Bible. Me and my Lord. Me and Jesus.

This must be said in love: The reason you know anything at all about Jesus is due to the body of Christ, because of Spirit-bearing, Christ-imitating witnesses, ancient and contemporary. You did not build that relationship with Jesus on your own.

Jesus has been mediated to all but the first disciples by a sacred community of redemption that gave us the Scriptures, birthed by the Holy Spirit of God at Pentecost. The Triune God breathed tongues of fire upon gathered men and women and bound the divine community’s saving mission in the world to hapless earthen vessels, reconciled to Father, Son and Spirit by the all-saving reality of Jesus’ life among us from conception to ascension.

Christ did not appear out of thin air. The Scriptures did not drop out of heaven, bound and printed. The Spirit of God hovered over Mary, mysteriously making the Son flesh of her flesh and bone of our bone. The Spirit of God breathed on the prophetic and apostolic writers and then preserved their inspired work over thousands of years.

These sentences are another way of saying that the Spirit moved within the Church to unite us in one Household by the witness of patriarchs, prophets and apostles, Jesus Christ himself being the Cornerstone. Paul declares her “the pillar and ground of the truth.”

Here’s something vital and essential to being found in Jesus Christ: We received Jesus from a great cloud of witnesses. We did not come to him without aid.

Abraham, Moses, David, Ruth, Isaiah, Daniel, Esther, Amos, John the Baptist, Elizabeth, Mary, Paul, John, Ignatius, Athanasius, John of Damascus, Mary of Egypt, Cyprian, Cyril of Alexandria, Basil, the Gregorys, Maximus, Palamas, Augustine, Thomas, Wycliffe, Julian, Luther, Wesley, Edwards, Therese, Barth, Bonhoeffer, Lewis, Schmemann, John Paul II, and Mother Teresa, among numberless others less known and better known than these, lead us to Jesus.

We have also received Jesus from intimate others who told us about him: parents, teachers, friends, martyrs, evangelists, pastors.

Being “in Christ” means being “in them” for they are “in him,” too. We are not alone in this. That is both a challenge and a comfort.

I cannot leave behind the community’s understanding of who Jesus is as God and Man without also abandoning my Lord. I cannot ignore the ways God’s Household reads the Scriptures. I cannot casually dismiss the ways the body of Christ worships, beginning with the first Christians. I cannot forget her sacred bath and sacred meal, for the Scriptures tell us we are incorporated into Christ’s death and resurrection and have eternal life by these sacraments. I cannot belittle the art and cultures the body of Christ has created by the Spirit in every time, people, and land. All of this is, after all, the work of the Spirit, leading the Church into all truth.

Now I can say that Jesus speaks to me directly (as he certainly does) and that I do not need this mediation, this witness, this culture, these Scriptural sacraments the Lord commands us to remember him by but—wow—where else in life do we so completely ignore what has gone before us, the origins and foundation of how we came to know and trust and belong to something, anything, Anyone?

This Person we cherish and adore in Jesus Christ comes among us from an eternal Community and invites us into relationship with them and with all men created in their Image. I am not saved alone.

It is also a comfort in this dark time not to bear the faith in isolation from the community that upholds it and sacrificially lives it out in holy awe down the centuries. I am not being saved alone.

As in every moment of God’s saving actions in Israel and in the Church, I am saved (am being saved) with a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people.

It’s not just me and Jesus. Being part of Jesus means being part of all those who are in him. As the New Testament affirms at every turn, no one who is in Christ ever dies. This sacred community serves “not the God of the dead, but the living, for to him all are alive.” Not one disciple of Jesus can be dismissed as “of the past” or “bygone.”

To paraphrase Chesterton, this Great Tradition is not the empty belief of the spiritually dead but the living faith of those who are forever alive in Jesus Christ.

I worship Father, Son, and Holy Spirit with the whole Church. I read the Scriptures with the whole Church. I take up my cross and follow Christ with the whole Church. I offer food, clothing, and water with the whole Church. I pray with the whole Church. I visit the sick and the prisoner with the whole Church. I love Jesus with the whole Church. I am never, ever alone in this reading, worship, prayer, sacrifice, service, presence and love!

Jack Stoll, a prodious young five-year-old, hand crafted this Nativity and gifted it to us at the Tanner’s Christmas Open House. Reports are he’s making these for several friends and family members. As a perceptive Bible reader once remarked, “The wood of the manger prefigures the wood of the cross.”Many, even many Christians, seem to believe that the aim of the spiritual life is to get to a place where you’re no longer merely human but something supposedly greater or better; to escape this “material world” for a place of pure spirit. Yet the only wise God sought to become human, to take on flesh forever; not to remain in his eternal glory, untouched by the realities of his Creation, but to be “God with us,” flesh of our flesh, and bone of our bone. Even ‘now,’ as Jesus Christ rules at the right hand of the Father, a heart beats in his transfigured chest.Some think of Christ as a kind of “Superman,” a hero from an alien plant whose embodiment was somehow different than our own, yet the Scriptures plainly teach that Christ took flesh from Mary’s blood, from her royal, fallen bloodline. He really “took on” vulnerability, contingency, helplessness, hunger, thirst, poverty, limitation, illness, betrayal, scandal, sin and death so that we, by his sanctified reality, might be secured forever against all these things. A pastor of the ancient church, Gregory of Nazianzen, said it like this: “what has not been assumed has not been healed.” Aren’t you glad for such total redemption?
The Gospel proclaims something yet more startling: that we can become by adoption the sons and daughters of God. Athanasius once preached, echoing 2 Peter 1:4, that “God became man so that we might share his divine nature.” Gloria in excelsis Deo.

Jack Stoll, a prodious young five-year-old, hand crafted this Nativity and gifted it to us at the Tanner’s Christmas Open House. Reports are he’s making these for several friends and family members. As a perceptive Bible reader once remarked, “The wood of the manger prefigures the wood of the cross.”

Many, even many Christians, seem to believe that the aim of the spiritual life is to get to a place where you’re no longer merely human but something supposedly greater or better; to escape this “material world” for a place of pure spirit. Yet
the only wise God sought to become human, to take on flesh forever; not to remain in his eternal glory, untouched by the realities of his Creation, but to be “God with us,” flesh of our flesh, and bone of our bone. Even ‘now,’ as Jesus Christ rules at the right hand of the Father, a heart beats in his transfigured chest.

Some think of Christ as a kind of “Superman,” a hero from an alien plant whose embodiment was somehow different than our own, yet the Scriptures plainly teach that Christ took flesh from Mary’s blood, from her royal, fallen bloodline. He really “took on” vulnerability, contingency, helplessness, hunger, thirst, poverty, limitation, illness, betrayal, scandal, sin and death so that we, by his sanctified reality, might be secured forever against all these things. A pastor of the ancient church, Gregory of Nazianzen
, said it like this: “what has not been assumed has not been healed.” Aren’t you glad for such total redemption?

The Gospel proclaims something yet more startling: that we can become by adoption the sons and daughters of God. Athanasius once preached, echoing 2 Peter 1:4, that “God became man so that we might share his divine nature.” Gloria in excelsis Deo.