Thursday, January 4, 2018

Bishop’s Note: January 4, 2018 - Adopted and Cherished

Bishop Eric Menees

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all! Today is the 10th day of Christmas so… if you are following the hymn… you should have given your true love “Ten Lords-A-Leaping.” I pray that your Christmas and New Year’s celebrations were blessed.

Last Sunday we celebrated the First Sunday after Christmas, and the gospel lesson was taken from the first chapter of the Gospel of John. I am always struck by the beauty and majesty of John’s prolog: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:1-5)

What St. John does in his Incarnation Narrative is not so much to describe what happened, as St. Matthew and St. Luke do, but rather the meaning of what happened. In this prolog, it is confirmed that Jesus was in the beginning at creation and chose to take on human form - to be born of the virgin - or as John states so perfectly in verse 14: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

What strikes me so very much are the verses immediately following that: “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)

The Creator of the Universe - the Prince of Peace; the Lord of Lords; the Word made Flesh - desires to receive us as His adopted sons and daughters. The mind whirls as it tries to contemplate the majesty and the mystery of that concept. Not only did God take on human form to redeem us, but he gives the “right” to become “children of God” through our belief in Him! Our adoption is based upon our belief, not our sanctity. Perhaps that is one of the greatest gifts of all?

There are many who argue that all people are “children of God.” But that is just not true. According to Genesis chapter 1, all people are “created in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27) and are therefore afforded every dignity and honor as human beings; from the moment of conception to the moment of death. But that does not mean they are “children of God,” which comes only through belief in Jesus Christ.

It is there that discipleship begins - our belief in Jesus as the Word made flesh; in Jesus who lived, and died, and rose again; in Jesus who will one day return.

As we begin this New Year, let us once again confirm our belief in Jesus and ponder anew our adoption as beloved children of God!

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