When God bought a tent

Texts read in churches these days often have to do with the birth and infancy of Jesus. The writer of the Gospel of John went back farther than that – when the birth of Jesus was just an idea in God’s mind.

What John says about Jesus was and is extraordinary. He was in the beginning with God. He was God. Nothing exists that he didn’t have a part in creating. The effect of his life was to bring life and light to humanity. People who accept him and his claims are given power to become part of God’s family.

What John writes is pretty heady stuff. We can’t get our minds around the idea of beings that are distinct and one at the same time. But we can understand someone who lives among us and experiences our trials. John’s way of expressing that is to say that Jesus “tented” among us.

It was John’s way of saying that Jesus lived in the same neighborhood as we. Had he not been executed, he would have died of the same diseases that take our lives. He went to the same schools. Shopped at the same stores. More than that he experienced the same trials and difficulties that we do. He was uncompromisingly human.

That’s what makes the Incarnation extraordinary. These claims are what give his life its power. If they are not true, this is just a feel good story with no clout and no genuine ability to change our lives.