Emmanuel! (11)

Traditional worship, with its emphasis on hymns, creeds, and stained-glass windows, makes God remote. Contemporary worship, with its casual “bring your coffee to worship and slap your neighbor on the back as you sing, shout and sway with your hands in the air,” makes God too common.

Remote does not make God transcendent. Familiarity does not make God present. Have we demystified both transcendence and immanence? . . .

Consider this theological thought: Christianity is a faith of paradox.

The key paradox to all paradoxes is the Incarnation. We confess Jesus to be the God-Man. Both. Not one or the other, but both. We can stress his deity to the point of forgetting his humanity. We can focus on His humanity to the point of denying His divinity.

The truth of the Incarnation is not an either/or but a both/and. The same is true for transcendence and immanence. When transcendence and immanence are brought together, God is present; it’s a true divine-human encounter.

—Robert Webber, Ancient-Future Worship (email, 10/29/03)

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