One the one hand I could put it in the “kids these days” folder, on the other I think there is an emerging theme in the technological world that each new invention promises a fuller and more connected life but each one ends up removing a bit of our humanity and placing us a little further away from any real connection with each other. If anyone has read That Hideous Strength, I couldn’t help but think of it and the depiction of battling the powers.
One little bit of widsom that stuck in my head is a maxim “preach Jesus – he’s preachable”. Its a pithy phrase that sums up Luke 24:27 and elsewhere. That phrase is easiest when you are talking about Jesus’ works and deeds, or when you are talking about the divine nature of Christ. It becomes much more difficult when you are talking mental thoughts or emotional feelings of Jesus. Everyone is happy talking about the love of God, but anger or desire tread on difficult ground. The preacher is climbing inside the head of the Christ – a very dangerous task. The text has the phrase – “He desired/wanted to pass by them.” And yet Jesus doesn’t do that, in fact the phrase is just odd as it is againt everything for which he was walking on the sea. The sermon works that out.
The only other thought thought in this vein has to do with what and how our adversary is attacking people today. There is a meme that each generation is tempted in specific paths. The task of the church and the preacher is to confront that temptation. The pressure on the church is to synchronize with or condone that temptation. The formula of Concord says something like that in Article X paragraph 4. I’m beginning to think that our modern temptation in many ways that we’ve forgotten what it means to be human. We have never been real good at parts of it (suffering, being created creatures, being both body and spirit), but never have we been so able to ignore or change our fundamental nature. Death is always held at bay until we have no time to prepare. We create special places and classes of people to segregate real suffering – like hospitals and doctors or government housing and social workers. We deny the spirit becuase it doesn’t conform to a test bench and so we become materialists. Our humanity is being limited and we are happily giving it away.
The counter to that is not the divinity of Christ, but His humanity. Jesus desired to pass by. Jesus desired to reveal the glory to his closest followers…but instead he climbs in the boat with them. A very human act in the middle of a calm sea of miracles.