Advent Reflection #27
Mary exclaims to Peter and the mysterious beloved disciple in John’s Gospel account, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Where is Jesus, in other words? Where is God?
Like the Shepherds and the wise kings 33 years previous, the remaining disciples and Mary run to the tomb to visit Jesus. But he is no longer there.
The Ark of the Covenant is empty, the manger is empty, the cross is empty, the grave is empty, and the temple would soon be destroyed. So then, where is God?
God cannot be put in a box. Reading the narratives regarding the Ark of the Covenant, one gets the distinct impression that God allows the Ark merely as a vessel of instruction, a way for God’s people to come to know God better. God was, by no means, though, contained within that glorious box. God wasn’t limited to the Holiest of the Holies in the Temple, either. In Jesus, though, we know the fullness of God came to dwell in flesh. He was/is fully divine, and yet there is more to the Triune God than the Son. Indeed, Jesus constantly refers to his Father, and promises that he will send the Holy Spirit to guide and even dwell inside believers. Thus Jesus fully reveals God to us, but that revelation is of the Triune God, eternally dwelling in relationship with one another.
So where is God? He is here. In all the places listed where God is not, we find that God is here. God is not in need of a container or a vessel to fill up. What need there was of that, was for our sake, and it was fulfilled in the Incarnation of our Lord. God the Father Is. God the Son is the fullness of God in flesh who reigns eternally with the Father, for whose we await. God the Spirit has been poured out into our hearts. The Spirit is with us, indeed in us. The Spirit is at work in the world around, working good in all things, actively attempting to redeem our rebellious broken hearts and lives.
God was in all of those things. God still is in all of those things. But in Christ Jesus the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit, God is here – God is with us – God will ALWAYS be with us. God is not hidden away from us – God is fully revealed, present, and at work in our lives and our world.
This, Church, is the Good News.
Lord Jesus live in our hearts and lives. Amen.