If you’ve been enjoying hipster Barbie’s Instagram account that mocks superficiality, then you might appreciate the simplicity of Irenaeus, one of the early church fathers. He studied under Polycarp, who had been taught by the apostle John, and said that the glory of God is the human being fully alive, and the life of humanity is the vision of God.
There’s something special about being human, even when we don’t feel fully alive. At times we are more of aware of being fully overwhelmed, dissatisfied, anxious, lonely or tired, and I think that is part of Irenaeus’s point too. We are not human beings having an occasional #authentic spiritual experience, like Socality Barbie highlights. We are spiritual beings having a human experience, because the seemingly unseen, unknowable God became the human Jesus and shared our fragile, contradictory nature, inviting us into communion with God, just as we are. In his tender identification with us, “the Word became flesh.” Or as Irenaeus puts it: “The only true and steadfast Teacher, the Word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, through his transcendent love, became what we are, that he might bring us to be what he is himself.”
People are smart enough to deride idealized, plastic, and staged expressions of #community, and that’s one of the reasons I’m looking forward to the next 10 weeks of Sunday meetings at 1125 South Broad. We’ll fill the walls with faces of real people we appreciate. We’re noting the wealth of goodness in people that reflects our creator, and the particular gifts we share. One of the best ways to get to know Jesus is through his people, his beautiful body. Of course we’re not perfect, whatever that means — we are human. Being in Christ as a human means that we are each empowered with spiritual gifts to do what we’re given to do. I suspect that many of our gifts are yet to be discovered, especially as we grow and change and meet new partners. As we offer our gifts faithfully we are creating a movement that is changing the world.
If you want to know more about your spiritual gifts you could take this test. Another good way to explore them is on Sunday evenings at 1125 S. Broad, and here’s your invitation. The 25 spiritual gifts mentioned in the Bible are not the full extent of how God has gifted people to serve, and we won’t have time to cover them all thoroughly. But we could grow in gratitude and wonder as we glimpse the glory of God in one another, and maybe even see our own reflection in the face of Christ. #fully human #fully alive