God Among Us: The Paradox

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Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.

Philippians 2:6, 7

For since death came through a human being,
the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being;
for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.

1Corinthians 15: 21

 

Man’s maker was made man
that He, Ruler of the stars,
might nurse at His mother’s breast;
that the Bread might hunger,
the Fountain thirst, the Light sleep,
the Way be tired on its journey;
that Truth might be accused of false witnesses,
the Teacher be beaten with whips,
the Foundation be suspended on wood;
that Strength might grow weak;
that the Healer might be wounded;
that Life might die.

~Augustine of Hippo

 

We too are born
as a King is delivered,
poor and homeless, in a barn:
we,
the meek, the mourning,
the weak, the persecuted,
the poor, the hungry,
the merciful and peacemakers
are given eternity
for the price of faith.
We can’t earn it, can never pay for it;
we just reach out our hearts
to grasp it tightly
as it is offered.
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You, Lord, are both lamb and shepherd.
You, Lord, are both prince and slave.
You, peacemaker and sword-bringer
Of the way you took and gave.
You, the everlasting instant;
You, whom we both scorn and crave.

Clothed in light upon the mountain,
Stripped of might upon the cross,
Shining in eternal glory,
Beggar’d by a soldier’s toss,
You, the everlasting instant;
You, who are both gift and cost.

You, who walk each day beside us,
Sit in power at God’s side.
You, who preach a way that’s narrow,
Have a love that reaches wide.
You, the everlasting instant;
You, who are our pilgrim guide.

Worthy is our earthly Jesus!
Worthy is our cosmic Christ!
Worthy your defeat and vict’ry.
Worthy still your peace and strife.
You, the everlasting instant;
You, who are our death and life.
Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia.
You, who are our death and our life.
~Sylvia Dunstan (1955-1993)

 

 

Come, thou Redeemer of the earth,
Come testify thy virgin birth:
All lands admire, all times applaud:
Such is the birth that fits our God.

Forth from his chamber goeth he,
That royal home of purity,
A giant in twofold substance one,
Rejoicing now his course to run.

The Virgin’s womb that glory gained,
Its virgin honor is still unstained.
The banners there of virtue glow;
God in his temple dwells below.

From God the Father he proceeds,
To God the Father back he speeds;
Runs out his course to death and hell,
Returns on God’s high throne to dwell.

O Equal to thy Father, thou!
Gird on thy fleshly mantle now;
The weakness of our mortal state
With deathless might invigorate.

 Thy cradle here shall glitter bright,
And darkness breathe a newer light,
Where endless faith shall shine serene,
And twilight never intervene.
All laud, eternal Son, to thee
Whose advent sets thy people free,
Whom with the Father we adore,
And Holy Ghost, for evermore.

 

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To Sunder for a Second

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One wading a Fall meadow finds on all sides   
The Queen Anne’s Lace lying like lilies
On water; it glides
So from the walker, it turns
Dry grass to a lake… 

Your hands hold roses always in a way that says   
They are not only yours; the beautiful changes   
In such kind ways,   
Wishing ever to sunder
Things and things’ selves for a second finding, to lose   
For a moment all that it touches back to wonder.
~Richard Wilbur from “The Beautiful Changes” Collected Poems 1943-2004
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A look out the window at first frost
as change breaks up the beautiful once again:
to wonder at the throes of dying,
to know the kindness of a glistening dawn
when all before seemed darkness,
when all to come so ephemeral,
the broken in a moment
made whole.
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