Your donations enable us to create and share theologically progressive resources that nurture our faith journeys and are used in church communities around the world. If everyone reading this right now gives just $10 we would be able to continue offering these for free.

Thoughts on Incarnation

 
Incarnation is about that which is divine becoming real in what is natural, banal, human, or secular.

What is the divine?

I think the divine is the virtues that bind us together as one in loving, peaceful, just, sustainable, and harmonious community where all are respected and cared for as equals.

It is seeing reality not from the position of self (me vs. you) or tribe (us vs. them) or specie (humanity vs. the rest of creation), but as one (we or all of us as family — including all species and creation).

The divine therefore is not a being external to us, but both within and between us. There are ancient words in Greek and other languages that convey this within/between nature of incarnation for which we have no English equivalent.

By this understanding the divine is incarnated whenever we individually and collectively live by virtues like compassion, kindness, forgiveness, mercy, peace and nonviolence, caring and responsible stewardship, egalitarian justice for all, generosity, beneficence, magnanimity, etc.

When these virtues live in us, it changes both our perspective and behavior. When we see and treat all reality as one, where we work for the good of all things (rather than from a position of competing interests and self-centeredness), then the divine has been incarnated.

This, as I understand it, is the position of Isaiah and the prophets, Jesus, the Sufis, Buddha, Lao Tzu, et al. The oneness of all reality in our perceptions and practices connects us to the divine — enabling us to experience shalom, heaven, nirvana, and unity with the Tao.

Incarnation is present in all the world’s religions, and they all attest to this reality — not only with their own mythologies, but with their ethical unanimity in professing the Golden Rule.

We are to do unto others as we’d want to be done unto — not simply because it is the right thing to do, but also because it is the right way to perceive reality; of how we are all essentially one.

— Rev. Bret S. Myers, 12/10/2018

Review & Commentary