Comments: God-with-us

Spot on

Posted by Rosemary Hannah at Wednesday, 14 December 2016 at 7:12pm GMT

The recent discussion on another thread at TA about the creeds prompted me to think of the Creed of St Athanasius and the words therein: "The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible." These words point to the depth of our unknowing and yet we discern clearly God's love for us in our reading of scripture. It's a love we can depend on through the darkest of days.

Posted by Pam at Wednesday, 14 December 2016 at 8:39pm GMT

Excellent. Personally I believe that 'Emmanuel' is the heart of the gospel, but as Andrew points out, that's dependent on what we believe God to be like!

Posted by Tim Chesterton at Wednesday, 14 December 2016 at 11:09pm GMT

There is way too much emphasis on the 'vengeance' of God. This can lead to an odd heretical understanding of disasters occurring in the natural world. New Zealand's recent earthquakes were announced by the local N.Z. 'Destiny Church' as a sign of God's displeasure with Same-Sex Marriage and the "sexual sins of the South Island people" (as though they were any more sinful than those in the north Island!)

This 'cod-theology' leads to people no longer believing in the God such churches espouse. What seems to have been forgotten is that "God SO LOVED the world". He never hated it!

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 15 December 2016 at 5:51am GMT

"When Nazi troops marched into Paris in 1940, their regulation belt buckle bore the legend ‘Gott mit Uns’, God with us, and I wonder how the French felt about what that God was visiting on them? "

In rather too many cases, "enthusiastic collaboration". The Germans didn't need to do the roundups and deportations ofJewish French citizens themselves, French police were happy to do it for them, and when the Germans asked for Jewish men, the French were happy to round up the women and children as well. The myth of the resistance is just that: as the mordant old joke goes, everyone had joined the Resistance by 1946.

Posted by Interested Observer at Thursday, 15 December 2016 at 8:51am GMT

"The stories of Christmas WERE WRITTEN to challenge and subvert this dark idea of God’s character." (emphasis added)

That's an amazingly bold assertion.

"Thou shalt not bear false witness" is one of the Ten Commandments. Whether one believes the Gospels are the Word of God or the work of faithful disciples, I see no reason to believe either would deliberately bear false witness to the life of Jesus Christ for propaganda purposes ie to portray God in a particular way.

Posted by Kate at Friday, 16 December 2016 at 12:03pm GMT

Christianity is deeply subversive, from the Magnificat of Mary to the 'unveiling of Empire' in the Book of Revelation. The rulers are impugned. The gospel brings a profound message of God's identification with the poor.

"He has shewn strength with his arm,
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts,
He has put down the mighty from their seat, and has exalted the humble and meek,
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich he has sent empty away."

As Jesus said at the very outset of his ministry:

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me...
To proclaim good news to the poor"

Or to put it more essentially in the words of Isaiah:

"I live in a high and holy place,
But also with the one who is lowly and contrite of heart"

presaging the coming of the One who "being in the very nature God... made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant... made in human likeness"

The Christian message is a conscious defiance of Empire and a devastating indictment of vainglory.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Friday, 16 December 2016 at 4:22pm GMT

A soon as anyone mentions the Anglo-Saxons I respond like Pavlov's mutt, and therefore share this passage from Benedicta Ward: 'There is [in Bede, Gregory, Alfred] a key to the spirituality of the first English Christians. At first they were promised a new kingdom and tended to see God as the God of battle who would reward devotion with victory. But they learned another lesson with experience, and that was the priority of God in all circumstances.... They learned... the humility that regards God as the only pastor, using only damaged tools. In darkness, desolation and shame, there is the place of the Cross and of the light of life and redemption, because that is the place where God is and no other." ('High King of Heaven' passim)

Posted by David Rowett at Tuesday, 20 December 2016 at 10:17am GMT
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