Monday, October 2, 2017

For God, being too normal is not dangerous.

Back in 1969, the British Royal Family allowed a film crew to record actual footage of life inside Windsor Castle, with the hope of giving the public some indication that the Queen and her family was not out-of-touch with the life that was going on outside of the castle walls, and that the Royals were like the commoners.  When aired, this documentary would show the world a side of the Queen and her family that was never seen before, giving a peak into their private world. 

Apparently, when the two-hour long documentary was aired on 21 June 1969, it garnered a whopping 37 million viewers.  The British population saw how the Royal Family ate meals, shared family memories and how they even did seemingly mundane things like watching television.  This was a huge public relations success as the public opinion of the family was very favourable.  However, the Royal Family ‘hated’ it.  The Queen and her advisors felt that being too normal was as dangerous as being too different.  The film was henceforth banned and never shown again, with unused footage stored in royal archives, safe from prying eyes.

The one amazing thing about the Christian faith is that this is not how God moves, lives, and is.  What was so inconceivable about Christianity is that for God, being human was not only ‘dangerous’, but also extremely necessary.  Up to the arrival of Christianity, religion was rule-based, guilt-based, fear-based and certainly far from being love-based.  The idea of God was that he was so unlike humanity and because of this, he was believed to rule, govern and lord over all ‘from a distance’, not unlike the way God is portrayed in the Bette Midler hit song of the same name.  While I will admit that it is a very listenable song, it does have a terrible and sad theology.  The God of Jesus Christ is not at all interested in loving us from a distance.

The incarnation turned everything man had perceived about God upside-down.  In the person and life of Jesus Christ, humanity was both lifted up and changed.  God was so clear that when he said that he loved the world, he meant it.  He meant it enough to want to enter into it and show us what it means to be truly human and this included the terrifying experience of truly suffering and truly dying.  The early Church struggled to not only explain but embrace this ‘scandal of the Cross’, and perhaps because it is such a game-changer, this scandal has persisted up to this day amongst many unbelievers, because like the Royal Family back in 1969, they too believe that being too normal is just as dangerous as being too different. 

There seems to be a resistance or inability to appreciate just how stunning the incarnation is, and what it reveals about God and his love.  The task of those of us who preach the Word is ultimately to convey this to believers over and over again, because it is only until we sinners truly grasp its significance, we will be extremely slow to change and resist undergoing metanoia out of love.  I believe we need to be able to do this by picking up on how society lives and what moulds and shapes minds and hearts of people, and point out just how different God works.

The Royal Family back in 1969 believed that being too human just did not sit well with their idea of Royalty.  If this was the way God acts and thinks, I am certain that there will be no such thing as the incarnation.  For God, being too human was never dangerous.  It was highly necessary. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Fr Luke for reminding us how stunning is the incarnation of Christ and how much God loves us.