Sunday, December 18, 2016

Sunday 12/18/16

In today's gospel, Joseph has a dream where he is told the child Mary is carrying is not the product of an illicit relationship, it is the Son of God. The entire New Testament hinges on this moment. The divine nature of Christ is brought to the outside world for the first time. The resurrection of  Christ is the edifice of Christianity, the nature of Christ's conception is its foundation. Enter Arius.

Arias, an early Christian bishop, argued that Christ had a beginning and therefore could not be God. He was declared a heretic, then absolved, then made a heretic again. But his distress is crucial as it was--and is--the world's distress. The Prophet Mohammad formed his opinion of Christianity through an Arian philosopher and, while he accepted the Jews as monotheists, he thought Christians polytheists.

Logic brought to bear on a being that rises from the dead seems misapplied. If either part of the story is acceptable, then it is hard to limit the rest of the story with petty human concerns. But, strangely, human reaction is the essence of the story. Like all the nativity scenes, humanity is at the center. Christ comes to the world as a vulnerable infant, dependent upon human care. Christ's later claims will mean nothing to the world without the disciples' translation, acceptance and proselytizing. Humanity is the linchpin of the entire story.   After all, human faith was the basis of it all, for Mary--and Joseph--could have said "No."

Astonishing. And a hell of a dream.

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