Words of Encouragement - 29th December

Words of Encouragement - 29th December

Dr Trevor Morrow is Minister Emeritus of Lucan Presbyterian Church and a former Moderator of the General Assembly. In this Guest Post he reflects on the year that has been and the longings it stirs as we look to the days ahead.

If you are like me, you are suffering from Zoom fatigue. Whatever our age we have learned how to use ‘What’s app’, ‘Facetime,’ Skype and Zoom. They are gifts from God to us in this time of social separation.. But, we have also discovered that virtual reality is not reality and that virtual church is not real church. The reason is because of who we are. We are not angels who have been given a body. We are not eternal spirits with a human form. The Genesis narrative on creation tells us that we were taken from the dust of the earth and God breathed into us life. To be human is to be an ‘embodied spirit’. Our bodies are vital to who we are. We are more than physical but we are not less.

In our bodies we know and love each other. We communicate using our senses. Non verbal/body language is often more important to communication than what we say. It is why social distancing with our nuclear and church family hurts so much. We long to touch our children and grandchildren. We miss hugs and holy kisses. 

The truth is to be human we need ‘physical presence’. This is how we know and love each other. God knows this and so for us to know and love him he has been constantly speaking to us through our physical senses in creation, through prophets in our hearing and in awesome encounters. But he knew that the sense of his presence was not enough. He needed to be physically present. 

So, this is how John describes what is uncanny and breathtaking.. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John1:14)   Here is God’s physical presence with us in Jesus so that we might know him and love him. This verse has inspired me in the darkest moments. Our lament is not simply to be physically present with each other in worship. Those moments together is simply the trailer, the shadow the rumour of a deeper longing for our Lord Jesus Christ to return in his physical body. Then, we will see him as he is and we will know and be truly known. Nothing else will satisfy the deepest longings of our embodied souls.