“We’ve lost the ability to hold our breath. Everything is instantly available, regardless of longer-term costs, and the damage we do to ourselves and our planet is immense. So we get into debt, we produce more emissions and become unhappy if we are not immediately gratified.”( Ann Pettifor )
Listening to an Advent sermon talking about pivotal beliefs, how faith hinges on their truths. If not, it is like gravity, Christianity collapses into a pile of irrelevant rubble. The focal point of the talk was the virgin birth, the incarnation.
I believe in the virgin birth, but...
He will be great,
be called 'Son of the Highest.'
The Lord God will give him
the throne of his father David;
He will rule Jacob's house forever—
no end, ever, to his kingdom."
34Mary said to the angel, "But how? I've never slept with a man."
35The angel answered,
The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
the power of the Highest hover over you;
Therefore, the child you bring to birth
will be called Holy, Son of God. ( Luke 1:29-35 The Message )
I really believe when we try and explain the Virgin birth, the incarnation of God becoming flesh, we reduce it to nothing more than a lab experiment, test tube fertility, Mary the anesthetized surrogate mother into which God places His egg, and His sperm.
That somehow it had to be this way, or Jesus would not have been sinless, Holy, without blemish. That somehow "sin" is genetic.
Mary asks how, and the angel says, " The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will hover over you." Here we have lost our ability to hold our breath, and loose ourselves in the eternal mystery of those words. To try and explain the incarnation is like trying to explain the opening verses of Genesis. In fact, I am haunted by the similarity, " the power of the Highest will hover over you." In Genesis it was the Spirit hovering over a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, and inky blackness...and God speaks, and creation unfolds.
Here into the life of Mary the Spirit hovers, God speaks, " the child you bring to birth will be called Holy, Son of God...His Kingdom shall have no end." The new creation unfolds.
Advent is a season of waiting, of holding our breath in expectation. I can not explain the incarnation. Yes our faith does hinge on this profound mysterious event, but it does not hinge on us having to explain it, summarizing it like biology lab.
Anytime the Holy Spirit comes into the story, there is always mystery...I hold my breath. But in the waiting, and the breathlessness I am lost in a truth that is beyond my wildest imagination.