Every Sunday, churches a part of the United Church of Christ denomination recite the Statement of Faith, which reminds us of our belief in Jesus Christ and the work that lay before us as a Church. Lately, a section of the Statement has reasonated with me:
He has come to us and shared our common lot, conquering sin and death, and reconciling the world unto himself.
For some reason, I have pondered upon this section for days. What does this really mean? What does this mean for people of faith? In this modern world, how can I be encouraged by this statement?
The “he” which is mentioned in this phrase is referring to Jesus Christ: “the crucified and risen Lord” who came be a light to all mankind and release the oppressed from bondage. The coming of Jesus Christ was signficant for many reasons. First, his coming was the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies referring to a coming of a messiah. Secondly, his coming was inspiration to the Jewish people who were presently occupied by the Roman Imperial government. But, at the time of his birth, not many people truly understand how significant this man would become to the World.
We, Christians, understand the birth of Jesus Christ to be something a bit different. In the birth of Jesus Christ, we find hope for the coming of liberty. Liberty from our shame. Liberty from oppression. Liberty. Jesus’ ministry epitomized this liberty. He shook up the institutional policies of the Jewish people, opening the door for many who were once restricted. He provided light to those who felt ashamed to let their light shine. He came to “us” and “shared our common lot”.
Jesus lived a very ordinary life in that he did not subscribe to the glamour, which would have been typical for a man who was considered to be a “king”. Jesus was humble. He fellowshipped with those who were not always welcomed at the table. He was tempted by sin. He was rejected, persecuted, betrayed, and killed. He indeed “shared our common lot”.
The triumph in this narrative of Jesus Christ is that he “conquered sin and death”. He rose in liberty after being killed in ignorance. Jesus provided the example that we too can conquere sin and death. The same God who rose Jesus from the dead can be the same God who can raise us from our infirmaties, tragedies, and sins. We rejoice in knowing that the “light is come” and we can also indulge in it.
Listen! I stand at the door, knocking: if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you and you with me. Revelations 3:20 NRSV
Pray this prayer with me:
I praise you for the light that you provide in Jesus.
I thank you allowing him to serve humanity through his life.
I thank you for allowing him to teach us how to be more like you
and how to draw closer to you
Help us, Oh God to empitomize his life.
Let us be more humble
Let us be more patient
Let us be more loving
And as we gain more light through our journey to you,
let us spread that light to all those who have yet to expose it
and like Jesus, give others the permission to do so.
In the name of those who have reached your divinity,