Thunderstruck

It is our usual custom to recite the Apostles Creed at this point in the service, but several times a year we break from that custom, and recite the Nicene Creed or the Definition of Chalcedon. During Advent season, it is Chalcedon, and so there are a few things for use to consider.

It would be safe to say that the early generations of Christians were thunderstruck by Jesus. No man ever spoke as He spoke. No one wielded authority over demons the way He did. And no man ever came back from the dead as He did. And so naturally, they worshiped Him. But the Lord had lived His life and conducted His ministry among the Jews, the most fiercely monotheistic people on the planet. The identifying cry of Israel is the Shema, the summons to “hear oh Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.” And yet, the first generation of Christians, overwhelmingly Jewish, were worshiping a man who was born in Bethlehem, and came from Nazareth.

There would have to be a theological sorting out at some point, which is what happened at Nicea and Chalcedon. At Nicea, the deity of Jesus Christ was settled, but what to do about the exact nature of the relationship of His deity and His clear humanity? That was settled at Chalcedon.

The practical point to remember is that Chalcedon declares the death knell of every form of humanistic tyranny. It was customary for the ancient kings, emperors, and pharaohs to declare themselves to be the integration point between human life and the transcendent. This was idolatrous folly, of course, but they had the armies and navies.

What God did at Bethlehem, and nine months prior to Bethlehem, was to give us the true integration point between the transcendent and life here below. Christ is the visible image of the invisible Father. He is the arche, the hinge upon which all turns. This was established for us when He rose from the dead, and so it is that every jitney despot has been deposed in principle, starting with Herod.

Christmas represents the death of every form of tyranny.  

As this should remind us to confess our sins, so let us prepare for that by singing together.