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Yes, God so loved the world that He gave His only Son
John 3:16-18

Sermon Topic Incarnation

Sermon Week The Holy Trinity Cycle A

Scripture Summary John 3:16

Keywords

"He gave His only Son." How do we respond to God's great gift? We celebrate of course, but there is more to it than that. It has been said that there is a "genetic flaw" in Western Christianity; that this "genetic flaw" actually prevents us from making a genuinely Christian response to God. There is truth in this claim. We Christians in the West have been influenced mightily by the "Age of Enlightenment." Nearly all of the American "Founding Fathers," for example, were prime products of the Age of the Enlightenment. Among other things, the Age of the Enlightenment says that faith is thinking; that faith is something that goes on in your head; that faith is figuring out what God has done; that if you cannot figure it out and if you cannot prove it, there is something wrong with your faith-it is defective. We must give "reason" its due, of course. These minds of ours are, after all, one of God's beautiful gifts to us. We are not called to be an unreasonable people. But ... our faith does not rest on the use of our minds alone.

In today's Gospel Lesson, John beautifully restates the Incarnation Message in these words: "Yes, God so loved the world that He gave His only Son." Who can understand, who can prove how the innermost essence of God's being-His "Christliness"-can be embodied, so as to dwell among us? John's Gospel is extremely helpful in this regard because it emphasizes for us the reality that our Christian response to God's gift is not, primarily, figuring out the Incarnation Miracle, but accepting it, receiving it, being thankful for it.

Ordinarily, in the Church, we talk about the spirit of giving, and it is important to do this. But rarely do we hear any talk about the spirit of receiving. Very few people know how to receive graciously and freely. Very often our pride and our arrogance get in the way. We don't want to be "obligated" to the person who is giving. "Oh, you shouldn't have done this," we say. Or, on occasions [...]

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