Through the incarnation we understand not only our need for God. God also needs us! We complete each other. The incarnation took place not only thousands of years ago; Divine Union or the experience of being in God is possible today. It is what the monks of the early church aspired to, as testified in the most celebrated text of the Eastern Church next to the Bible, The Philokalia.
Sometimes God says to us “Some things won’t get done unless you do them. I created you. I gifted you. Creation isn’t just up to me. It’s up to you. Bring it! Incarnate it! Become a co-creator with me. Live into your God given potential! Invent the Internet to increase human connection and networking. Create Habitat for Humanity to help stem the tide of worldwide homelessness. Be the positive role model for your adopted girls. Give them the tools to make good choices. Do the single most important thing to change the world… Get off your butt and roll up your sleeves.”
The ultimate challenge for the Christian is to imitate Mary and incarnate the Word! Each of us in our own way is called to incarnate the Word. The winged Gabriel may be the catalyst for our calling (Luke 1:28). We may fall off a horse and be visited by a blinding light (Acts 9:3-4). Or like Symeon the New Theologian (d. 1022), we may be going about our mundane daily life, when we are suddenly overwhelmed by a brilliant light, accompanied by overwhelming love and profuse tears of joy (Palmer, et al, The Philokalia Vol. 4, 18-19).
After the duress of modern warfare in Iraq, we may wake up in a hospital bed with a whole new vision for our life. The loss of a loved one may unhinge us and put us back together in an utterly unpredictable way. Whatever the circumstance, God is calling us. I know this in my bones. Our choices matter. Our lives matter to God. We are called. By answering the call we enter into a generations-long struggle to bring God’s realm on earth as it is in heaven. Each of us has a part to play. And just as basketball teams win or lose whole tournaments based on one point, so too, a few people (even one or two) can make a huge difference in humanity’s fate on this planet. Margaret Mead is always worth repeating: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”