Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Jesus = the very face of God

We continue to commemorate the mystery of the Incarnation on the 3rd day of Christmas:

Scottish theologian Thomas Torrance tells about how, as a young army chaplain, he held the hand of a dying nineteen-year-old soldier, and then, back in Aberdeen as a pastor, visited one of the oldest women in his congregation–and they both asked exactly the same question: “Is God really like Jesus?” And he assured them both, Torrance writes, “that God is indeed really like Jesus, and that there is no unknown God behind the back of Jesus for us to fear; to see Jesus is to see the very face of God."
William Placher, Jesus the Savior, p. 21 (quoting Torrance, Preaching Christ Today, p. 55)

There is a phrase associated with two of the greatest Anglican thinkers of the last generation, Michael Ramsey and John V. Taylor: ‘God is Christlike and in him there is no unChristlikeness at all’. What is seen in Jesus is what God is; what God is is the outpouring and returning of selfless love, which is the very essence of God’s definition, in so far as we can ever speak of a ‘definition’ of the mystery.

It is because of Jesus that we grasp the idea of a God who is entirely out to promote our life and lasting Joy. . . Here is a human life so shot through with the purposes of God, so transparent to the action of God, that people speak of it as God's life 'translated' into another medium. Here God is supremely and uniquely at work.
– Rowan Williams, Tokens of Trust, p. 57

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