Word Made Flesh… in You
by Rev. Christina G. Kukuk
I cannot remember a year in which the power of words to build up or tear down has ever felt so keen. On the national and international level, jokes about what the President tweets mask the much more serious consequences of what those words can do… and are doing… at home and abroad.
At the interpersonal level, many of us are grappling with how to talk to friends, loved ones, co-workers, neighbors about the things that matter to us – while also being able to listen and hear what matters to them – and keep love at the center of those relationships.
In the online neighborhoods of social media, hashtags like #metoo have become rallying words powerful enough to end the careers of previously untouchable men.
Words are powerful.
A time also comes when actions speak louder than words, when word must become flesh.
Advent is a time that prepares us for that happening. This spiritual season of four weeks leading up to Christmas is a time to watch and pray and prepare for the holy, creative, life-giving word of Genesis 1 to become embodied in humanity. It’s an active waiting, an alert waiting
Advent means “coming.” And the traditional mantra of Advent “maranatha!” can be translated two ways. Either, “Come, God!” or “Our God has come!” Throughout the month, the desperate shout “Come, now!” gradually grows softer while the joyful “God has come!” grows louder, finally reaching its peak on Christmas Eve when the “word made flesh” is born, something the gospel writer John connects directly to that creative word present since creation.
In worship, we will keep this time by lighting a new Advent candle each week and sharing what good word we’ve seen become flesh in our lives. If you’re a user of hashtags, you’ll recognize the image in the visuals above our altar table. If you don’t use social media, you’ll still be able to hear how the Word is becoming flesh in the lives of your fellow seekers. Families with children and youth will also have opportunities to follow along using an Advent wreath, family guide and seasonal songs at home.
“The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.”
That’s the way the good news of Christmas gets paraphrased in The Message version of the Bible. That’s what we’ll be waiting and watching and preparing for together.
~Rev. Christina Kukuk
How Can You Participate?
- Throughout December, snap pictures of you and your family, friends or fellow church members living your faith “in the flesh” out in the word: at the overnight shelter on Sunday nights, at Laundry Love, at AYC, at the Thanksgiving Meal, at your family dinner table working on your Advent wreath*, at your workplace, at your volunteer gig, at whatever community vigil or justice action you attend between now and Dec. 24.
- Email it to the office.
- Or, if you already use social media, share and hashtag the image yourself: #WordMadeFlesh #Wordof________ (fill in the blank for whatever word you imagine being “enfleshed”: life, justice, love, equity, joy, light, care, life, wisdom, etc.)
- Tag or hashtag the image #UCCAshland or @UCCAshland so we can locate it;
- Use the Illustrated Advent for Families coming from your Children & Youth staff to help the Word become flesh in your home each day.