Day 4 - Love in the Flesh (Incarnation)
Dr. Warren Smith, Associate Professor of Historical Theology
Exodus 3:1-5, Philippians 2:5-11, Luke 2:1-20, John 1:1-18
Quotes from the Last 24 Hours
“Just as there is never a time a flame does not give light, so too is there a never a time the Son was not with the Father.” - Dr. Smith in plenary
“Nicaea put into words what the church taught all along.” - Dr. Smith in plenary
“It’s not often we get to hear the story [of the incarnation] against the backdrop of a summer sky… without the tinsel, lights and presents… without sentimentality.” – Rev. Nathan Kirkpatrick, during evening worship
“This is delicious” - Nearly every student during the hospitality dinner.
Reflections on the Lecture
In Plenary this morning Dr. Smith explored with us the mystery of the incarnation, that, as John tells us, “The Word became flesh.” From the beginning this claim of Scripture led Christians to ask two big questions: “Who is Jesus?” and “How did the incarnation bring salvation?” And from the beginning Christians answered the question of Jesus’ identity just as Peter did (“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”) with the stunning claim that Jesus was both fully human and fully divine – a claim that results in Christians understanding God as Trinity. Dr. Smith addressed the question of the incarnation’s effects by considering the answers of two early theologians. Irenaeus argued that Christ completed and perfected creation while Athanasius said that the coming of Christ renewed the image of God. In both cases, because God comes to us in human form we are shown what it means to be truly human – and this revelation clearly informs how God calls us to live today.
Perhaps the highlight of the day was our dinner with Urban Hope, a ministry in the Walltown neighborhood of Durham “focused on bridging spiritual and economic resources to youth and families.” The students in their summer program – most of whom were 14 or 15 – were divided into two teams who each cooked, prepared, and served a meal. Half of us ate Hawaiian, the other half Greek – but everyone was fully satisfied. The meal was actually a competition between the two teams, but there were no losers that night. We were blessed by the hospitality and graciousness of these young people. At DYA we learn that it is at the Table that we are formed in the likeness of Christ.