The Christian year begins with three festivals that belong together: Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. They come together out of the realm of the Father God.
We consider the Father’s working in the past, leading the world and the human being to the present, which we have heard described in the epistle of the Trinitarian weeks: “He is in all that we are. Our substance is his substance. Our being is his being.” The contribution of substance from the Father God has created a world of form, beautiful and powerful nature, all permeated with laws of proportion and balance. We remind ourselves of the manifestation of the Father when we pray in the threefold crossing: “The Father God be in us…’ The present and future activity of the Father is carried potentially by our activity: “He moves in us…”
The Father and the Son are of one essence (“I and the Father are One,” says Christ). But the nature of the Son is to create, to lead the past into the present, and even to weave the future into the present. The word of the Son God is “become,” which awakens in us the mystery of our becoming. And our own becoming is intimately connected with the mystery of God’s becoming.
In the past theologians have wrestled with the question whether God is free to evolve. How could the all-encompassing, all-mighty, all-wise God ‘become’? One answer to this dilemma is a twist of logic that says He is not almighty if His power does not include the ability to evolve. This overlooks however the all-important role of the human being in continuing the creation.
A tremendous dynamic or even tension arises between the simple present tense of “He is…” and the future tense implied in becoming. How does the state of “being” unfold or cross the chasm towards “becoming?” And how does the human being carry hidden God’s own future becoming?
We may call to mind the great painting of Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam” to suggest a picture of this mystery. Michelangelo painted the Father, his arms held and guided by helping beings, reaching out powerfully towards Adam, who represents every one of us, even Christ Jesus. The human being has not yet fully received what the Father is offering—the hands do not yet touch. What new stage of life, of consciousness would be possible if the human being would reach to receive what God is offering, the dynamic impulse “to become”?
And this question accompanies us through Advent: will we reach to become, to join our forces with what the Father offers, so that heaven and earth can join in?
Contemplation by Rev. Susan Locey