I recently read an insightful article by Richard Rohr about the importance of Christmas as the moment when God was revealed in Jesus, who was both human and God. Rohr writes about our struggle to understand Jesus’ human and divine nature. He was God, and that is powerful, wonderful, and life changing, and he was also human. He was born, had friends, got hungry, probably got frustrated with his parents (who doesn’t?) and all those other fully human things.
It is easier to choose one, but, as Rohr points out, the whole point of Jesus’ birth was to allow us to see the divine in one another and even in ourselves; to see that we are both human and divine, we are both. We have a tendency to think dualistically: either or, one or the other, us and them, good and bad, human or divine. The Way of Love that Jesus shows us is the way of both. We love one another as we recognize the image of God in one another.
This dualism plays out in congregations, of course. We are a congregation of people with all the struggles of a community of people working together. When our divine spirit, expressed in community, is at work, we are inspired to feed people. We certainly feed hungry bodies. We also feed souls through our worship and our study together. We are both. We are a worshipping people, a praying people, and we are inspired to work for the good of others in many ways.
This spirit of “both” is expressed in our Vision statement: On earth as in heaven, all are welcome, all are fed, and all are loved. On earth as in heaven: Both. Earth transformed by heaven coming and being one with earth. All are welcome, fed, and loved. Cared for spiritually and humanly.
I pray that this Christmas will be both for you. Both a celebration and fulfillment of your human needs for love and care, and of your spiritual needs for relationship, connection, and love. I pray that we, as a congregation, will continue to grow in the Way of Love, seeking both the human good and the divine connections of this life.