Summary: God wants his grace, truth and glory to spill out. He wants us to be the vessels that spill as we work, play and interact with people every day. It is called WORSHIP.

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“Uncontainable Presence”

Scripture: John 1:14


If you could snap your fingers and in a moment command whatever you want, what would you command? Abby Small, in Return of Jafar, wished of the Genie Jafar that he would have the gold of a sunken treasure ship. The outcome could have been tragic as the Genie took him to the bottom of the ocean! Maybe you wouldn’t be so rash but would ask for something really complex and more meaningful as did Susan in Miracle on 34th Street. She had received a beautiful house and a dad for Christmas. The only thing missing was her baby brother! Actually, that may be rasher than the former command!

To begin with, we cannot grasp in our finite minds the essence of what it means that God is the Cosmic Creator, the Ultimate Power, the Mysterious, Brilliant, Grandiose and Magnanimous DEITY! Yet we need some semblance of understanding if we are to appreciate the very thought that God would even bother with us; that of all the power possibilities he possessed, His choice was to stoop to our level, to ‘come down’ to where we live!

Uncontainable Presence wrapped in a blanket and uncontainable since that first starlit night! His living quarters always cramped – a stable, a house, a temple, a human. Cramped living quarters is impossible for Divinity! He must be released!

He is released as a fragrant gift through people who feel the dynamic of his living among us. One cannot see his glory, feel his touch, experience his nearness and not be affected so that he spills into the next person, the next house, or the next street! We may laugh hysterically as Scrooge did with his new-found purpose to spread joy and good cheer (Clip: Scrooge laughing with elation!); we will give extravagantly; we become excited with justice and fairness; we love deeply.

It is Uncontainable Presence that instills what James W. Moore calls the “Christmas gifts that won’t break”; the gifts we’ve been exploring this Advent season, the gifts of hope, love, joy and peace. We cannot earn them neither can we create them. They are born to life in their fullest and uncontainable measure when we experience “the Word {that} became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”

Theologian and commentator, Dr. William Barclay, offers significant insight into “three great words” he calls it. These words of John 1:14 describe something of what it means to speak of Christ as uncontainable. We’ll touch on them quickly.

There is the word GRACE. We have known for a long time that grace means we receive something completely undeserved. Our minds generally to the cross and see the crucifixion sacrifice, that gives us eternal life. We must however go further back. Grace was given us by God when Jesus took that first human breath and filled the night with a screeching cry as new-born babies do! (Clip: Crying Baby). To quote Barclay, “The word grace emphasizes at one and the same time the helpless poverty of {people} and the limitless kindness of God.” The idea of grace is uncontainable. Jesus contradicted social norms and status quo in a society steeped in religious piety and harsh judgements. Jesus’ uncontainable concept of grace rather than judgement, of love instead of vengeance was so radically controversial that those who could not contend with the option opted to have Jesus executed. Yes, the world does not deserve Him because it cannot contain Him.

The second word that Barclay brings to our attention is TRUTH. Jesus did not only come to talk to us about truth but embodies truth. He is truth and the very essence of truth. Humanity has been trying for centuries to define God, to understand Him. All of this became redundant because we now look at Jesus and realise we do not need to wonder what God is like. He is presented for us in the person of Jesus Christ! John records in 14:8 Philip wanting desperately to see God and so asked Jesus, “Show us the Father”. Jesus responds in verse 9, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” John captures the lessons of grace and truth as depicted in this next video clip (Clip: Who was Jesus – Gospel of John).

Truth tends to be unpalatable, often resented and disbelieved as described by Barclay. I’m not thinking of the surface truths like someone saying “you’ve put on weight” or “we have to replace you because your skills are not enough for our company”. The truth referenced in this context is that message of Ultimate Design. Many people react or even recoil at the idea, as depicted in the movie, “Six – The Mark Unleashed” (Clip from movie). Jesus shows in his uncontainable personage of Truth that only by coming to terms with who He is and who we are can we be set free as recorded in John 8:32.

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