The Mother Church
of The Dakotas
517 Douglas Avenue, Yankton, SD 57078
FROM THE INTERIM RECTOR FR. TIM FOUNTAIN
When it comes to Christmas in church, most folks are familiar with the events of Jesus’ birth. They’re read in the Gospel, acted out by kids in pageants, illustrated on Christmas cards, framed in films, etc. For me, the MEANING of Jesus’ birth looms larger. This is heard by the hardy souls who come to church on the Sunday after Christmas, when the Gospel includes John 1:14:
“And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.”
“Word” in that verse reflects the complicated Greek term LOGOS, for which we have no perfect English equivalent. It is to say that everything included in the life – the personality – of the mysterious God is present in Jesus. Imagine if you had a way to make yourself - including your memories, your secrets, your thoughts and ideas, your feelings, EVERYTHING that is you – known to others in an instant by some kind of telepathy, word or gesture. Certainly, they would be overwhelmed by that. We can hardly comprehend and carry around the fullness of ourselves, let alone someone else’s whole self. But this is what commences at Christmas. The fullness of God shares our humanity, overwhelming us with glory, to which we can respond only with worship, and with grace and truth, to which we can come to terms slowly over the course of our lives. The Bible makes the audacious claim that the church, warts and all, is “the body of Christ” at work in the world. We offer our worship, the means by which people can draw near to the glory of God. We offer the Word of God in lessons, sermons and the words of worship, which helps people in the search for truth. We offer the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion, which are “outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace” – work that Christ himself is accomplishing in people who don’t have to earn or deserve his favor. The fancy word for this great mystery is INCARNATION. It means to take flesh. God the Son, born of a woman as were all of us, shares our flesh and blood reality. And now the church, filled with the Holy Spirit that overshadowed Mary, is Christ’s chosen means to make himself known in the world he is making new.
Come and praise the simultaneously glorious and simply human birth of Christ Jesus on Monday night, December 24th, at 5 or 11 PM and come and hear more of what this means for the church and the world at our Sunday service at 10 AM on December 30th.
Christ Episcopal Church 517 Douglas Avenue Yankton, SD 57078 605.665.2456