Where Heaven and Earth Met

Living in the Regenesis

Mary didn’t know it, but deep inside her teenage body God created a remarkably sacred space. All of God’s creation is remarkably sacred, of course, but this was an exceptional phenomenon. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you," the angel announced. "So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). A medieval hymn called this critical moment in history “the pregnancy of salvation.” A young girl carrying the Son of God in her womb. The Savior of humanity in her care. The eternal plan enclosed in flesh. The angel’s announcement was a stunning turn of events.

Mary2God had been in no hurry. All of heaven must have anticipated the incarnation and the remarkable unfolding of the redemption plan, this critical hinge point in history. But God would not rush it. For centuries, millennia, long eras of frustration and futility, the world carried on in the pain of its brokenness, assuming the brokenness was normal but longing for something more. Paul wrote that all creation groaned in increasing intensity, as if it were in the pains of childbirth, for a revelation of who God really is (Rom. 8:22). But few people would have identified those pains for what they were. The human heart grows accustomed to the dull ache of a long wait.

In retrospect, God is a master of timing. In the moment, he seems to take an excruciatingly long time to work out his plan or fulfill a promise. We wait and wait, and assure ourselves he is never late, though sometimes he really is, at least by the measure of our timelines. But looking back after the fact, his timing usually makes sense. He knows how to build up to a moment and deliver when conditions are ripe. He is a masterful orchestrator of the divine plan.

So God sent Jesus when the right time came—or, as some translations say, capturing the image of a pregnant anticipation, in “the fullness of time” (Gal. 4:4)—after centuries of prophetic hints and in the midst of one nation’s political and religious angst. Some people doubted a deliverer would ever come; others searched the scriptures and speculated about God’s plans for his people. But even in a season of expectation, hardly anyone recognized him as “the one” until he surprised them with his wisdom, power, and love. 

A Medieval English carol marveled at the convergence of heaven and earth within Mary's womb. "For in this rose conteinèd was heaven and earth in litel space" ("There Is No Rose," ca. 1400s). This baby would be fully human, able to hunger, thirst, cry, sweat, bleed, and die. He would also be fully divine, perfectly in sync with the Father and invincible even in death. We can hardly grasp this convergence—our minds gravitate toward one or the other, the human or divine—but in this case, deity and humanity really did unite. The infinite, majestic God clothed himself in the vulnerability of an embryo in a teenage mother. 

It had to be this way. Humanity’s stock was thoroughly infected and unable to recover the image of God we were created with. There had to be a regenesis—in us, but from beyond us. The incarnation of Jesus in the womb of a human being was just the beginning of the new creation. The intersection of human and divine would last more than a moment and even more than a lifetime. This was the seed of something big.

The biblical story tells us that we were originally created in God’s image. Obviously, we haven’t lived up to that image perfectly; it was shattered when we fell, and though we retain its essence, it comes out distorted in all of us. The incarnation is a stunning reversal of that trend. The exact image of God was born through a fallen human being. The regenesis has begun. Restoration is possible. We now have the power, through his Spirit, to grow back into the original divine image and carry it into the world around us. Heaven and earth not only met miraculously long ago in Mary and in the Son she bore; they now meet miraculously, in remarkably sacred space, in us.

Adapted from The Wonder of Advent Devotional: Experiencing the Love and Glory of the Christmas Season, Tyndale House Publishers, © 2017 by Chris Tiegreen.

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Tom Binion 23.12.2019 23:07  
Yes No   Let the manifestation of the regenerative begin.  
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