DayBreaks for 12/25/15: God’s Rosetta Stone
For thousands of years people struggled to learn and read the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic writing, but all had failed. What had perhaps been the greatest ancient civilization ever had been rendered mute by mankind’s failure to decipher her literature. And then, finally, a dark stone was uncovered in the sands of Egypt that had the same text in Greek, ordinary Egyptian script, and the previously unreadable hieroglyphics. By comparing the translations side by side (since the ancient Greek was well understood), linguists mastered hieroglyphics and could now begin to read and understand about a world that up until that time was shrouded in fog and secrecy.
Richard Niebuhr insightfully likened the revealing of God through Christ to the Rosetta stone. The simple truth is that no matter how much God revealed about himself to the ancient prophets, we just couldn’t understand him. Our vision of God was blurred by fog and the great barrier between the spiritual world and the physical world. Physical eyes simply cannot comprehend spirit very well. And so we were faced with a great dilemma: we sensed and understood that there was something great to be understood, to be revealed and explored, but we were helpless to tear down the veil.
And then, God in wisdom we can’t begin to fathom, took on a form that physical eyes could see and comprehend. And for the first time, it was possible to see and understand that which had been hidden since time began. And then the words were spoken that made it all clear: “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.”
Niebuhr goes on to say that in Jesus, we are allowed to reconstruct our faith. If we can trust Jesus, we can trust God. If we can love Jesus, we can love God. If we can question Jesus, we can question God. If we can believe in Jesus, we can believe in God. And, if we doubt God, or find him incomprehensible, unknowable or invisible – the very best cure for us is to gaze steadily at Jesus, who not only is the Son of God, but who is the Rosetta stone of faith – making the incomprehensible understandable to mere humans.
Merry CHRISTmas, everyone!
TODAY’S PRAYER: Father, at Christmas may we clearly see not only Your love for us by Your Gift to us, but help us to see You in the baby in the manger, to understand that Your will and His will, Your love and His love, are one and the same. And may we welcome You as we welcome the Christ child. In Jesus’ name, Amen.