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Breakfast with God Volume 2
By Gerard Kelly
ZondervanCopyright © 2000 Gerard Kelly
All right reserved.
Chapter OneOrange Juice
'I am the way and the truth and the life!' Jesus answered. 'Without me, no-one can go to the Father.'
THE POWER OF ONE
The Big Breakfast
If you distil fruit juice, you get alcohol. If you boil down a carcass you get bones. If you reduce a perfume to its essence, you get a single, powerful, concentrated fragrance. What do you get if you take 2,000 years of Christianity and similarly reduce it?
According to Hans Kung - perhaps the most respected theologian alive today - you get Jesus. He writes: 'Christianity does not stand or fall by an impersonal idea, an abstract principle, a universal norm, a purely conceptual system ... Christianity stands and falls by a concrete person, who represents a cause, a whole way of life: Jesus of Nazareth.
No matter how religious those who follow Christ become, no matter how complex their systems of theology, the heart of the matter remains a tangible person. It is this that has made the Christian faith so durable, so adaptable, so attractive over 2,000 years of exploration and diversity. And it is with this that the 21st Century must do business - not the system of Christianity but the person of Christ.
To you we come, O Lord, the true goal of all human desiring. Beyond all earthly beauty, gentle protector, strong deliverer; from first light be our joy. (From Celebrating Common Prayer, London, Mowbray, 1994)
The Word was in the world, but no one knew him.
The Big Breakfast
Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery, is among other things a master of disguise. Like other super-agents before him, he must know how to insinuate himself into a new and foreign situation without being detected.
This is not true of that other man of mystery, Jesus. God's 'disguise' was not deliberately chosen to deceive us. The reverse is true - the incarnation is an act of self-exposure: it makes God more visible, not less.
But the idea of God becoming a human being is so audacious, so strange to our eyes, that when he comes we don't see him! So perfect is God's act of taking on humanity, so complete is his adoption of our nature, that we fail to recognize him. Even in a police line-up, we could so easily pass over Jesus as just another human. Only when God opens our eyes do we begin to see who Jesus really is.
With a number of significant exceptions, those who witnessed the life of Christ did not see him as God. But those who did were so changed by what they saw that they went on to change the world.
I open my eyes, Lord, to see you. I open my heart to receive you. I open my life to be your dwelling-place.
He came into his own world, but his own nation did not welcome him.
The Big Breakfast
You've had a long and tiring journey. You are jet-lagged, but glad to be home. You park in your own drive, walk to your own front door and put your own key in the lock.
But the lock doesn't turn. You try other keys, but nothing fits. When you see movement in the house, you knock on the door. A total stranger comes and informs you that the house is no longer your home. It has been occupied by the Revolutionary Army of Something-or-Other and has been declared a Stateless Zone. The locks have been changed and you will not be given access. Until you can get a Court Order and police back-up, you are homeless.
This is your home - your property. Not only do you own the title deeds - you even built the place with your own hands. Inside are your belongings, your memories. But you are outside - left out in the cold.
Jesus came to a planet over which he has rights of ownership and occupation - he came to his home. It is we, the tenants, who have refused to give him access.
Take your place, Lord Jesus, in my heart and home. May you find warmth and welcome, and sustenance and rest.
Excerpted from Breakfast with God Volume 2 by Gerard Kelly Copyright © 2000 by Gerard Kelly . Excerpted by permission.
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