“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14
I love this simple yet profound Christmas message. That which we could only think about and imagine has become flesh, so that we can SEE glory, grace, and truth for ourselves. The incarnation is the most beautiful and most necessary of Christian truths. A God that is far away and cannot be known is worse than no God at all. It is like a beautifully wrapped present that we are not allowed to open, play with, or enjoy.
Jesus faithfully showed us the Father. Now it’s our turn. The church is called the body of Christ because we represent God’s anointed one in the world. We are that which can be heard, which can be seen with the eye, which can be looked at and hands can touch. Represent, not like a salesman or even an ambassador, but represent like Jesus represented the Father, “an exact image of his being.” When the world looks at the church, they are supposed to be able to see Messiah and thus the Father. Not a religious idea, but the very character of God.
This is one of the simplest reasons why the church must be diverse. A mono-ethnic community cannot express the character of God like a multi-ethnic one. It is not just the fact that our different cultures express the diversity and fullness of who God is. It is all those wonderful aspects of God’s character that find greatest expression in a diverse congregation: forgiveness, reconciliation, sacrificial love, and of course grace, to name a few. This is what the world is hungry for. This is what Jesus gave it- an authentic and clear image of who God is. This is what the church must BE today.-God in the flesh for the entire world to see.