A Balanced Human
Jesus came not only to save us from sin and its consequences; He also came to show us what God at creation intended us to be. St. Luke recorded a story about Jesus being in the Temple at the age of twelve. At the end of that account we are told, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” (St. Luke 2:52) In Jesus we see the perfectly balanced human being, a normal human being. Our concept of normalcy in humanity is distorted by sin. God the Father sent His Son to reveal to us what normal really is. From this short verse in St. Luke we may see that there are four components to a complete and properly balanced human.
We are first told that “Jesus increased in wisdom.” There is an intellectual component to being human. God created us with a mind and He expects us to use it. Christians should not be intellectually lazy. Christianity is a reasonable religion because our God is a rational Being.
The goal of some religions and philosophies is to destroy reason. Zen Buddhism with its koans, such as, “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” attempts to break down reason that a person might receive a mystical experience of enlightenment. Taoism, New Age and meditation also attack reason.
A veiled mind is a sign of our fallen condition. But Christ removes the veil revealing the truth. We are to fill our minds and think on that truth, the truth of God. In this way we will gain wisdom.
Jesus also increased in “stature.” The Word became flesh. There was a genuine incarnation. Jesus came not only to save our souls, but to save the whole person, body and soul. The physical and material world is important to God and is part of redemption. On Easter morning Christ's tomb was empty. And when the disciples saw Him He had a physical body. That is why we believe in “the resurrection of the body.” (Apostles' Creed). Our physical bodies are important to God and we should take care of our bodies. St. Paul tells us that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. (I Cor. 6:19)
We also read that Jesus increased “in favor with God.” There is a spiritual dimension to humanity. We are more than a material body, as some would tell us. We have a spiritual nature and are incomplete without God. St. Augustine in his Confessions wrote, “You stir man to take pleasure in praising you, because you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”
How may we find favor with God? It is found only through Jesus Christ, through faith in Him as our Savior. If we have such faith we will repent of sin and seek to obey God prompted by love. Our desire will be to worship and adore Him.
The fourth and final component in a complete human being is social. Jesus also increased in favor with “men.” People could see admirable qualities in Jesus. Those features either attracted them or repelled them. Jesus was not a man pleaser, nor was He anti-social. Society did not control Him, but He did not flee from society either. Christianity is a social religion, i.e., it is lived out in relationships. Jesus healed the sick, fed the hungry, and was a friend to social outcasts. As disciples of Christ we need to follow His example in this present world. We also look forward to that new society that will be established at Christ's return, remembering that we are citizens of that society now. We are to live as citizens of the Kingdom of God .
What is a normal human being, a well balanced person? We don't need to go to Freud to find the answer. The One who made us has shown us by sending His Son to live among us. It is Christ who sets the standard for humanity. As His disciples may we this New Year resolve to follow the example of the most complete person who has ever lived, Jesus Christ.
by Rev. F. M. Levi
Missionary of The Month
Judy King, Bible Translation/Discipling. Amazonas, Brazil.
January 6, 2005.
The annual Spaghetti Dinner sponsored by the Woman's Guild took place on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2004. We thank the ladies and those of you who attended making this a success. The profit from the dinner will go to support missions and other worthy causes.
Congratulations to Mark & Sara Levi on the birth of their daughter Stella Kathleen, who was born November 28 th weighing 6 lbs. 5 oz. The happy older sister is Madeline and the proud grandparents are Rev. & Mrs. Levi.
Our sympathies are extended to Rev. Craig Smith his wife Barb and daughter Michaela at the death of Rev. Smith's mother, Darlene Ploss. Mrs. Ploss went to be with the Lord on Sunday, Dec. 5, 2004. Our prayers are with the family.
Decorating St. Andrew's Christmas tree on Oak Park Avenue, Tinley Park.
Rev. Deacon Derrick Hassert, Rt. Rev. Daniel Morse, Rev. Frank M. Levi, and Rev. Craig H. Smith.
Benjamin Woodard, Alex Rago, Michaela Smith, Rebbeca Woodard, Paul Woodard, Anna Woodard. Standing with comfirmands, Rt. Rev. Daniel Morse.
Annual Parish Meeting
March 6, 2005 in the Parish Hall following morning worship.
Fifth Sunday Potluck
January 30, 2005. Pot Luck luncheon after morning worship in the Parish Hall.
Jan. 6 – Elaine Spencer
Jan. 8 – Shirley Drobnak
Jan. 11 – Laura Ann Sutton
Jan. 11 – Henry Leenstra
Jan. 12 – Marie Bowman
Jan. 18 – Janet Marie Toomey
Jan. 18 – Caroline Elizabeth Robertson
Jan. 19 – William Garrison
Jan. 26 – David Sutton
Jan. 27 – Paul Christenson
Jan. 30 – Louis Buescher
The Old Year
by Helen Kitchell Evans
Steadily the old year passes;
Another year arrives again.
Will it bring a better way
To stamp out greed in hearts of men?
Another year extended to us
By our Lord's amazing grace;
Another chance to overcome
The problems of our human race.
Another year of striving
To find a way for peace;
Another chance for planning
How to make wars cease.
Another year; the time flies on!
The rate is ever faster!
Let us cherish every hour
As we try to serve our Master.