Article II—Jesus Christ
We believe in Jesus Christ, truly God and truly human, in whom the divine and human natures are perfectly and inseparably united. He is the eternal Word made flesh, the only begotten Son of the Father, born of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. As ministering Servant he lived, suffered and died on the cross. He was buried, rose from the dead and ascended into heaven to be with the Father, from whence he shall return. He is eternal Savior and Mediator, who intercedes for us, and by him all people will be judged.
As I write this we are on the doorstep of Christmas. In a little over 24 hours the congregation I serve will be gathering for our Christmas Eve celebrations. The idea of Christmas has become some many things to so many people. It is possible that folks who gather for worship on Christmas Eve will be a part of what the Huffington Post shares is up to half of Americans that see Christmas as a non-religious holiday.
The implications of this reach further than Christmas Eve services. Especially in light of revisiting the Articles of Religion. It seems that in the late fifties through the early eighties the descriptions offered in the Articles of Religion regarding Jesus were considered offensive to some. Even in the life of the established church, the understanding of Jesus offered was considered dated, non-enlightened, or even harmful by some. These views are still present in the church today, and furthered by the clergy of the church.
Here we are in the year 2013 and the issue is not whether folks see the description of Jesus as dated, or offensive, or wrong. Fact is most people don't even care. In their minds Jesus has become irrelevant. It would be easy to blame "the church" for the state of Jesus in our culture. It might be equally as easy to blame a society that has seem to erode the importance of Jesus in day to day life. The reality is that responsibility belongs not to the church or to society, rather to individuals.
Over the past couple of days I have been wrestling with Jesus. I do not have to look too hard to find people telling me who Jesus is. Some would say that Jesus is the advocate for the poor and oppressed. Others would say that Jesus is the one who judges the sins of society. I am amazed at the number of people who are quick to declare how Jesus would act, talk and be among humanity. At the same time what I find convicting in my own soul is how I struggle to embody the life of Jesus. All too often I am willing to settle for talking about how I think Jesus should be portrayed rather than doing the hard work of conforming my life to look like the life Jesus lived and calls me to live.
I wonder if people no longer see Jesus as relevant, even at Christmas, because I live my life in a way that renders Jesus irrelevant? What would happen if I began to live my life in such a way that people could see Jesus as truly God and truly human, in whom the divine and human natures are perfectly and inseparably united. Don't you just love the why that is phrased, divine and human natures perfectly and inseparably united.
What might happen if I lived my life in such a way that others would see and know a Jesus that, is the eternal Word made flesh, the only begotten Son of the Father, born of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit? Or if people could understand Jesus as one who is a ministering Servant he lived, suffered and died on the cross. He was buried, rose from the dead and ascended into heaven to be with the Father, from whence he shall return?
Is it possible for me to live my relationship with Jesus in such a way that the people around me will not read, He is eternal Savior and Mediator, who intercedes for us, and by him all people will be judged, with fear but as an invitation to wholeness and full living?
My struggle with Jesus is not that the church is failing Jesus, or that society has lost its way. My struggle with Jesus is that all too often I make many things more important than Jesus. I am working toward the day that people can read the words of Article 2 of the Articles of Religion and experience it in my life. I am called and am working toward being a person that helps the world around us, and the church, see Jesus as not only relevant, but as the life which gives life to all things.