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Feast of Presentation – Br. Mark Brown

Luke 2:22-40

Jesus “grew and became strong, filled with wisdom.” Or, translating more closely: The child was growing and was being strengthened, being filled with wisdom. The growingness was something ongoing and continuous; the being strengthened was something ongoing and continuous; the being filled with wisdom was something ongoing and continuous.  Jesus grew in this very ordinary, organic, gradual way.  Perfectly, completely human.

And: “the image of the invisible God”, as Colossians puts it. Or, in Hebrews: “the exact imprint of God’s very being.” This child who grows into manhood through all the usual stages of growth is the exact image of God.  We often think of God as changeless.  But in Jesus we see a quality of the divine being that is indeed changing: a living God, growing, exploring, experimenting, reaching, striving, absorbing, renewing.  God’s own being is in some profound way living, breathing, growing. Learning? Exploring? Experimenting?

This is the image in which we are made.  In our very nature is a preference for the new over the old; a preference for renewal over preservation; a preference for the progressive over the conservative. A preference for the future over the past.

We present ourselves—“we present our selves, our souls and bodies”—here, now, in the Lord’s Temple.  At the Lord’s altar.  On the feast of Presentation.  We present ourselves in a posture of openness to God’s very life in us.  An openness to the living, breathing, growing, changing, learning, experimenting, exploring life of the One who is Life.

Whatever was, is no more. That was then; this is now. God’s ever-living, ever-breathing life leads us forward into the new.  “Behold, I make all things new.” Which means you, too.

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13 Comments

  1. ashley on February 16, 2015 at 01:36

    this is great god is good we can all learn something ne w so true about the lord ever changing we all need to go go to church every sunday and confess our sin sins and we shall be for given:)

  2. Douglas Hutto on February 9, 2015 at 11:00

    Yes, Grow…the GOD of the law was completed in the law of the love in CHRIST….a change from the blood liable GOD of the old testament…

  3. Melanie Zybala on February 26, 2013 at 21:44

    How nice to read a beautiful reflection that is also brief.

  4. Ruth West on February 12, 2013 at 16:24

    In our world we seek the absolute. Only God is pure and perfect Love.
    Jesus Christ “is the same, yesterday, today and forever.” I cringe at how
    easily society can adapt to making God a God of change, justifying
    so many practices condemned by the Scriptures. Whatever is accepted in modern-day culture seems to be the same for the church. May God lead
    us into paths of truth, grace and love, rejoicing in the same. REW

  5. Sally S. Hicks on February 2, 2013 at 10:43

    “For all that has been, thanks
    For all that will be, yes” Dag Hammerskjold

    One of my favorite quotations comes to mind. Thanks, for the good posting.

  6. Jean Ann Schulte on February 2, 2013 at 07:38

    Br. Mark – Yes! I love to gaze out at the sky during my morning prayer. Sometimes the clouds are very changeable, other times they drift peacefully; sometimes dense fog and sometimes brilliant clear skies. And I have always associated them with God’s response to my prayers. Not as theologically sophisticated as today’s Word, but very much experienced as a responsive, caring and personally imminent God.

  7. Anders on February 2, 2013 at 07:19

    I love your statement “In our very nature is a preference for the new over the old; a preference for renewal over preservation; a preference for the progressive over the conservative. A preference for the future over the past.” Christianity however is often recognized as being anti anti, particularly related to experimenting and questioning.

    According to my upbringing, Jesus could have only been in the temple between age 10 and 30. He went from away in a manger to Jesus Christ, Superstar in a perfect, asexual and seamless poof ready to die on the cross for my sins, all defined by highly selective Scripture reading.

    I wish to show in my life that progressive exploring is also a path of grace rather than just a flawed misunderstanding. Tell me more!

  8. Clifford S. Waller, ETS '60 on February 2, 2013 at 06:33

    Wonderfully encouraging. Thank you.

  9. John McDargh, Ph.D. on February 2, 2012 at 09:54

    Mark – Your reflections today were so perfectly mapped on to a discussion I have been having with my students about seeing the Mystery of God not as static and unchanging , “I AM WHO AM” but rather as the novissimus, the most new “I SHALL BE THERE AS THERE I SHALL BE” – Martin Buber’s preferred translation of the Hebrew YHVH – and hence us too as made in the Imago Dei.
    So I shared your words with 40 BC undergraduates.!

  10. Dn. Chere Bates on February 2, 2012 at 09:29

    Mark,

    It is always nice to read what you post.

    Dn. Chere Bates
    St. Thomas’
    Morris, Il

  11. Peter Huiner on February 2, 2012 at 08:00

    I have been receiving the “Words” for about three or four months now, and I always look forward to seeing them. They often give me something on which to meditate during the day. Today’s Word was a good example of that. Thank you for your ministry,

  12. Lynn Harrington on February 2, 2012 at 07:58

    Beautiful.

  13. Polly Chatfield on February 2, 2012 at 07:06

    Thank you, Mark, for your gift of theological exploration which takes your hearers places they never dreamed of. Of course, if God is all things, God is change as well as stillness. And especially if God is life, God must be change. So we should never be afraid of change, for if we are, we are afraid of God who is life.

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