Thoughts From Toby

Living Incarnationally

“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood” (John 1:14, The Message).

Throughout history, one of the foundational beliefs upheld by the Church is that God became flesh in the person of Jesus. This is often referred to as the doctrine of the incarnation. God came near, living within our bounds of time and space as a human being. In John 1:14, the apostle John states that “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (NIV). The word that gets translated as “made his dwelling” is drawing on the Old Testament concept of the Tabernacle, which represented God’s presence with the people of God, as a vital part of the community. I love Eugene Peterson’s translation in The Message, which states that he “moved into the neighborhood.” Incarnation. God with us.

The Church, referred to in Scripture as the “body of Christ,” comprises all those who have come to a saving faith in Jesus, both now and throughout the centuries. In a very real way, the Church is called to live incarnationally in this world until the return of Christ. As God dwells in and among us by his Spirit, we are called to “move into the neighborhood” and be the body of Christ in our surroundings. In a world where it’s easier than ever to “escape” to greener grasses, it is more vital than ever for us to ponder what it means to be the body of Christ here, in this place. How can we, the Hanford Church of Christ, live incarnationally here in our neighborhood?

As we contemplate that question together, I would like to extend an invitation to you to join in. Our Sunday morning adult Bible Class for this quarter is studying the “one another” passages in the New Testament, which directly relate to this idea of living as the body of Christ. Starting next Sunday, we will begin an extended sermon series called “Identity,” in which we will be exploring who we are and where we are headed. We are also launching our LIFE Groups this week, which, besides being a very practical way to live incarnationally together, will be taking a deeper dive into the topic of “Identity,” both God’s and ours. Certainly these are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to a discussion of living incarnationally, but I hope you will join us as we seek to be the Church here in Hanford.