Incarnational Church – UK Context TWO Heavenly Branding

The Marks of Incarnation

If the incarnation story continues in the church then surely it follows that there will be indicators that can be seen within the life of the church.

Snyder proposes ‘While the Incarnation is a mystery, it provides the essential model for the believer and especially for the church’s corporate life and mission in the world.’

I have never particularly enjoyed looking at my own reflection in the mirror. I like it even less now because the passage of time brings me greater distress. The recurring thought that springs to my mind is that I look like my father more than my father’s son. I am not saying there is anything wrong with this, should he read these words, it continually reminds me that I am connected to my parents. I recall one day waking up from one of those mid-day naps that seem to be the comfort of middle age, looking down at my hand in that half asleep half awake state and thinking that my dad was in the room.

In a similar way, if we care to look, the whole of creation bears the impression of the thumbprint of God: every galaxy, star, planet, flower, animal and sunset, every human being reflecting God. Both in terms of physiology and history all created matter and therefore human life images our creator.

In the incarnation the Word, the second person of the Trinity, embraced this ‘creative’ fingerprint personally and thus reflected the creative act in both physique and purpose.

As we look at the life of Christ we can see the mind of a purposeful God. Every aspect of the life of Christ has the thumbprint of God upon it: from conception, through death, to resurrection. At conception we see the will of God unfold in a manner that although spoken of by the prophets of old was, in many ways, unimaginable to the human mind. His birth, so ordained to fulfil the prophetic utterances of the people of Israel, bringing together Divinity and humanity. His growth as a child: expressing his willingness to be self-confined within the human condition. His ministry: breaking into the mundane of human frailty, yet always with a mind upon the ultimate goal of the cross. The passion of the self-sacrifice of the creator God, as a seed dies in order to produce much fruit. The stunning glory of the resurrection: with all its mystery and wonder. These are things that surely no human mind could have conceived. God, the author and finisher, has been at work.

As I have already stated, what can be said of Christ, the Head, should be said of his body, the church. The incarnation continues and thus, the marks of incarnation, the very thumbprint of God, should be visible in the church. Locally we should touch our communities with these marks. Globally, we should shape and guide our world towards the creator.

To be continued............

‘Liberating the Church’ Howard Snyder Marshalls 1983 pg109

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