The amazing thing about transformation is its ordinary quality. The human incarnation took place in an ordinary town on a speck of a planet in an insignificant galaxy. So too, the world is transformed while reading National Geographic, shopping at the local farmer’s market, or sipping a half-caff latte.
The world is thirsting for the sacrament of the present moment available in deep prayer forms and in awe-inspiring worship. Unfortunately, just when the thirst is most profound, many mainline churches can only offer a rallying cry to be good. People don’t need more sentimental moral scripting. They need liturgy in the deepest sense, drenched in the transcendent. Liturgy at its best becomes like water and we the fish, no longer going through the motions, but embodying the mystery, incarnating Christ’s mysterious body.
People thirst for God. Unfortunately, they’re told Jesus is God Period—the only way. Or they’re told Jesus was a human being in history with a prophetic role. The first approach hits them over the head with a hammer. The other sags the body and wilts the limbs. We need God’s jaw-dropping presence animating our flesh and our every breath, imbibing the mystery.
Al Whitehead writes, “Christian theology begins in wonder and when theological thought has done its best, the wonder still remains.” Like my Oriental Orthodox sisters and brothers, I believe the incarnation is the central mystery of the Christian faith. It’s the great mystery of the world with immeasurable depths. I scratch the surface with words, but in the end I return to silent wonderment.