In a sermon at the Ecumenical Centre chapel on 8 January, World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit reflected that the message of light in darkness can enter into many people’s lives at Christmas.
“God is not in the past as a first mover, God is not just an idea, God is not without passion, God is not far away,” he said. “God is not bound to the power structures of this world, to the contrary.”
The incarnation is a sign of God’s love for us human beings, he continued. “The incarnation is the sign of God’s love for the whole created world even,” he said. “All that God has created is included in the Christmas story.”
Tveit noted that, after seeing how power can be abused in the name of religion, he finds it much more consistent that God is born among the very ordinary people in their struggle and their suffering. “I like the practice of the incarnation even better than the reflections on the story of the incarnation,” said Tveit. “We can just hear what Jesus says he is here to do, as God among human beings.”
On epiphany, we celebrate the self-presentation of Jesus Christ, the revelation of who he is and why he is here, added Tveit. “To follow Jesus Christ, to believe in the message of Jesus Christ, is to go, tell it in the mountains and everywhere, but also to do, to show it in the mountains and everywhere, that change is possible,” he said. “God has called us to love the world, the air, the forests, the seas – everything through the incarnation.”
It is never too late to change, urged Tveit. “We are called to move from pondering to wandering, from staying to moving, from discussing to doing,” he concluded. “This is the strongest expression we can give of our faith in the incarnation, as a sign of hope for the world.”