Archive for the ‘incarnation’ Category

Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour

March 31, 2011

Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour,

All for love’s sake becamest poor;

Thrones for a manger didst surrender,

Sapphire-paved courts for stable floor.

Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour,

All for love’s sake becomes poor.

Thou who art God beyond all praising,

All for love’s sake becamest man;

Stooping so low, but sinners raising

Heavenwards by thine eternal plan.

Thou who art God beyond all praising,

All for love’s sake becamest man.

Thou who art love beyond all telling,

Saviour and King, we worship thee.

Emmanuel, within us dwelling,

Make us what thou wouldst have us be.

Thou who art love beyond all telling,

Saviour and King, we worship thee.

Frank Houghton (1894-1972), CIM general director 1940-51

The need for incarnation

September 9, 2009

I don’t know if this world has a meaning which escapes me, but I know that I don’t know this meaning and that for the moment, it’s imossible for me to know it. What can a meaning outside of my condition mean for me? I can only understand it in human terms.

Albert Camus, in Olivier Todd, p.156

All revelation from God is a condescension to human limitations. When the Ten Commandments were written, they were written in an intelligible, human language. the supreme condescending revelation is the ‘Word made flesh’ (John 1.14) who dwelt among us.

slam claims to be able to tell God what he can and can’t do

September 1, 2009

By ruling out the possibility of incarnation and by reducing Jesus to the level of a prophet, Islam claims to be able to tell God what he can and can’t do in revealing himself to the human race.

Colin Chapman, Cross and Crescent, p.259

The Human desire for an incarnate mediator

August 31, 2009

Whereas the doctrine of divine incarnation and of a divine mediator between God and humankind are central to Christian belief, parallel beliefs in other religions develop in opposition to the dominant view of each of their sacred scriptures. Thus there is nothing in the Qur’an to justify the quasi-deification of Muhammad (which occurred in some circles in the 3rd C. Islamic era), and still less for the deification of the Buddha in popular buddhology. “In each case the need for an incarnate God seems to have been so strongly felt that the doctrine of the incarnation made its appearance in surroundings where it had no rightful place…what similarity there is (between the various religions’ incarnations) proves not that there is an inner unity underlying all the great world religions, but there is in man a craving for an incarnate God strong enough to force its way into the most  unpromising religious systems…whereas Muhammad and the Buddha achieved deification in flat contradiction to what they claimed and wished, and whereas the incarnation of Vishnu has no basis in fact, Jesus Christ both lived and died and claimed to be the Son of God.

R.C.Zaehner, in Vinoth Ramachandra, The Recovery of Mission, p.63

Costly Service

August 31, 2009

Robert Wilson was the only surgeon remaining during the Rape of Nanking – a city of a million. Why did he stay in such perilous conditions whilst the Japanese army brutalised the citizens?

“He saw this as his duty. The Chinese were his people,” said his wife. His uncle (John Ferguson) had founded the Unversity of Nanking and he was of a family of Methodist missionaries. He had enrolled at Harvard Medical School after winning a Princeton University scholarship aged 17. He could have cherry-picked the finest of jobs in the US but he worked around the clock under bombardment, atrocities, inadequate medical equipment and supplies and Japanese Army atrocities. On the afternoon of December 13th, whilst performing a delicate eye operation a shell landed fifty yards away shattering the window and spraying the room with shrapnel. The nurses were shocked despite no one being injured. He contnued the operation, “But,” he said, “I don’t think any eyes have come out that fast.”

His home was ransacked and defiled, yet he operated for free since his patients had nothing. His family believe only his faith and love of China preserved him.

adapted from Iris Chang’s, The Rape of Nanking, pp.122-129

God’s Incarnate Love

August 30, 2009

Suppose there was a king who loved a humble maiden. The king was like no other king.
No one dared breathe a word against him, for he had the strength to crush all opponents.
And yet this mighty king was melted by love for a humble maiden. How could he declare
his love for her? In an odd sort of way, his kingliness tied his hands. If he brought her to
the palace and crowned her head with jewels and clothed her body in royal robes, she
would surely not resist—no one dared resist him. But would she love him?
She would say she loved him, of course, but would she truly? Or would she live with him
in fear, nursing a private grief for the life she had left behind? Would she be happy at his
side? How could he know? If he rode to her forest cottage in his royal carriage, with an
armed escort waving bright banners, that too would overwhelm her. He did not want a
cringing subject. He wanted a lover, an equal. He wanted her to forget that he was a king
and she a humble maiden and to let shared love cross the gulf between them. For it is
only in love that the unequal can be made equal.

The king clothes himself as a beggar and renounces his throne in order to win her hand.

Søren Kierkegaard, Philosophical Fragments, 31-43

This story perhaps also demonstrates the diffculty for the rich or famous to marry below their class, wealth or status