Some will want a singular name for the dynamic between Jesus’ Divinity and humanity. And I’ll respond: love (1 John 4:8; 1 Corinthians 13). Yet, I avoid talking about love, because it’s a nebulous and misused term. Love is too easy on the mind as a catch-all word for the Christian spiritual journey. That’s why I use it sparingly. When probing the ultimate mystery of Jesus, the L word is misleading, because love is a moving target, not a stagnant term with stayed letters. If love is a moving target, what is most telling is naming the specific targets themselves: God and neighbor. What’s even more telling than naming the potentially polarizing targets is naming the singular dynamic that unites them: the paradox of Jesus.

Jim Wallis tells the following story… Jim was in a soup line in Washington D.C. when a sixty year old black woman was asked to give the prayer. The woman said “Jesus we know you are in this line today. When we meet you help us to treat you right.” This is the essence of what I’m talking about. Through Jesus, God belongs to us and shares our humanity. God is in fact one of us. This is the practical conclusion of Matthew 25: 31-46: Jesus says when I was hungry, you fed me. When I was in prison you visited me. . .

God belongs to us and we belong to each other. This is what’s missing from so many lives. They don’t believe it. “I’m not my brother’s keeper” is the lie infecting our streets and our neighborhoods (Genesis 4:9). This lie alienates us from God and one another. Responsibility to one another and to our neighbors begins with identification with our sisters and brothers.

God belongs to us and we belong to each other. This is the stunning truth that re-enchants the world. This is the meaning of the incarnation. The appropriate response: awe-filled devotion and compassionate action.