Sundays at 10:30am



Dwelling, Not Parachuting

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
So, here we are, almost in the season of Advent, a time of the year during which we reflect on and celebrate the coming of the Lord. Infinitely more important than going into our new building was God’s coming into our broken world. That is cause to celebrate, rejoice, and praise, regardless of the year or circumstance. Still, there are lessons to be learned by our church as we think about moving into a new space.
In a verse loaded with dense, theological terms, the word “dwelt” can seem ordinary by comparison. But it is not. Indeed, the idea of the Word-made-flesh dwelling is what makes this verse so shocking. The Word is the one who is resplendent in glory (even God’s glory!), and full of grace and truth. Yet, this same one dwelt among people. He settled down. He settled in. He had an address and a mailbox and favorite teachers and crazy uncles and all the stuff we associate with ordinary life. That’s remarkable! And it’s instructive.
The Incarnation tells us that more than the cross and resurrection matter. Of course, those events are the focal point of His life and the ultimate fulfillment of all God’s redemptive promises. And those events constitute the core of our gospel proclamation (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). But still, the Incarnation did not happen on Thursday of Holy Week, allowing Jesus to get to the Last Supper on time and the cross on schedule. He came long before that—even decades before that. For roughly 30 years, the Son of God inhabited time and space. He “dwelled” among us. He learned not only His ABCs and multiplication tables but also our fears and our struggles. He spent time and effort understanding the questions and longings and hopes of the human heart. He was, as the Scriptures say, a sympathetic high priest (Hebrews 4:15).
How does that inform our move? Well, doesn’t the Incarnation tell us something about the investment and involvement required for effective ministry? Of course, we are not Jesus, and there are places where the parallel breaks down (as in, we are not the “glory as of the only Son from the Father”). But we are called to ministry in His name and in His way. And that demands, at least in part, dwelling. We must know people. We must listen to people. We must learn their struggles, hear their concerns, and sympathize with their sorrows. We need to be hospitable to those who come to us, engaging visitors in conversation and prayer and invitations to lunch. We need to be outgoing to those who won’t come to us, inviting them to church as we have opportunity. And, by the way, this is not just a strategy for the Green Springs area. This is a recipe for ministry wherever God has us, both on Sunday and Monday-Saturday. 
Christmas is a wonderful time to move to a new space, isn’t it? It’s a reminder of why we do what we do—Jesus came to save us! And, along with that, it’s a reminder of how we do what we do. Incarnation. Presence. Sympathy. Dwelling, not parachuting.