© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved
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What WORD is revealed to us
on this Fourth Sunday of Advent?
It is a Word of Love.
God loves us! God loves us! God loves us!
It is the truth! This Word of God. The Truth.
So many of us are still influenced by
Nineteenth Century American Modernism,
and get so embroiled in demanding facts
that we lose sight of truth.
A taxonomy of facts
do not the truth make,
but they are suasive–
even if they are mean and false.
We humans are also impatient,
and just a little silly,
when it comes to faith and hope.
We want so desperately for what we can’t believe
to be truth, but we still demand facts.
We dream for this Word of Love to be real,
but we just embrace fact
instead of the truth of this Word of Love.
We want it, but we just
cannot bring ourselves to its reality.
Too many Christians have it in their heads that somehow a person must say some esoteric formula to achieve salvation. I do not think so. I think salvation is a given. I have a lot of theological reasons for my thought, but the bottom line can be found in the following syllogism: If God is love and Jesus is God’s expression of love and Jesus is the Word God spoke at Creation, and God’s Word on earth, and if it is through Jesus’ faith in God that we are saved, then humanity and, in fact and deed, all of creation, has been saved since the beginning of time. So what are we so worried about?
For me Christmas is less a celebration of the Coming of Salvation to earth, as it is the dawning of humanity’s realization of the existence of Salvation–something already preexisting, but just noticed. Christmas is about the birth of a babe in whom we atavistically recognized as that Eternal Hope and Eternal Desire and Eternal Deliverer–Salvation–for whom we had waited, and still are waiting. Christmas represents all of that!
Christmas is all warm and fuzzy for most of us in here in 2011. And, while we gather in homes and churches, assemble in bars and clubs, or huddle over steam grates or under bridges, and dream dreamy thoughts about the coming of our Lord, we still hope, in some way for Salvation–the Salvation we have already received!
So, what does this ever-hoped for Salvation look like? I’m with the Liberation Theologians on this one. We will never be saved from anything as long as we do not think we actually have anything from which to be saved. In the delivering from bondage of the least of the least (the 99%, or the 1/2 of 1/2% of the 99% who are actually the least of the least), the have nots, then those who have will be delivered as well. Our Salvation will look just like the people we work do deliver from their suffering.
In many ways, the Occupy-ers are the equivalent of the 1%. If we were to compare those living in the United States of America who are designated at “poverty level,” to the same in a third world nation, the US’s impoverished would seem like our 1%, we just can’t forget that! Yet. Yet we still dream of Salvation.
MERRY CHRISTMAS will be a Merry Christmas for us when we give up our denominational confessions and claims of Jesus in our hearts, and act like Jesus is in our actions. I do truly believe that our salvation, our deliverance, our liberation, our true happiness, will come for us when we give up on the idea of being “saved” from some nonexistent fiery hell, and get busy working at saving, delivering, liberating others from the hells in which they live.
I am not actually saying that how we celebrate Christmas is a bad thing. I love my family. I do love receiving the gifts that they give me and I truly enjoy giving them them the presents I have chosen for them. But I also understand that there is a bigger picture than the one in which my family is in, and the picture is bigger still than the community in which I live. I fully get that the love Jesus brings to us should be, and is reflected in our Christmas trees, lights, songs, worship, prayers, but I know, too, that it must also be reflected in how we vote, how we spend, how we perceive the use of our tax dollars, how we see ourselves in relation to the least of the least. Stingy, selfish, avaricious people neither further the Word of God, nor are they representative of it. They are just stingy, selfish, avaricious people, and no claim of Jesus in their hearts, no denominational creed, slogan, formula, or pious intention is going to change that. This Christmas I will try to get the Word of God’s love out by way of how I plan the rest of my life in relation to the rest of the world–if I can find a way to deliver, liberate, save just a few of them from their exigencies, maybe I could enjoy Salvation as well.
Merry Christmas! There will be no posting next week. Hilary