Thursday, November 18, 2010

Advent Reading ... #2

Obviously events overcame me yesterday so I didn't get a chance to post another good Advent reading choice. C'est la vie!

Today, however, I bring you a book that I haven't yet finished because I am finding myself almost forced to read it slowly and meditatively in order to consider the wealth of information.

Who is Jesus Christ? by Eric Sammons takes an interesting tack in answering the question that Jesus him self put to the disciples, "Who do you say that I am?" We all have our favorite and comfortable concepts about Jesus. They are not necessarily wrong but they also are not all that Jesus Christ is. It is in contemplating those areas outside our comfort zones that we most often meet God. Or so it seems in my experience.

Sammons takes each of the labels put on Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew and devotes a chapter to considering whether it is the result and/or fulfillment of incomplete perception, role, Old Testament prophecies and figures, or son.

These chapters are fairly brief but cover quite a bit of ground as we are shown the reason for each perception, whether it is really true (and if so, how true), and ultimately how this aids our understanding of Jesus Christ. For example, the chapter titled Carpenter's Son discusses our natural desires to know all about the person we love, the result of that desire in generating some of the legends about Jesus performing miracles as a boy, the fact that if those legends were true the townspeople wouldn't have been amazed at his wisdom when Jesus returned to Nazareth to preach, the truths about Messiah's wisdom revealed in Psalms and elsewhere, Christ's complete embrace of the ordinary life, and his restoration of the world through his sacrifice.

That is not even all that is covered in those eight pages. One might think that this crowds too much information into each discussion but it really doesn't. Sammons' writing flows so naturally that each conclusion leads organically to the next and we are carried on the logical track to the final consideration and couple of thought-provoking questions that are provided.

As I mentioned, I am reading this slowly, a chapter a morning and I then find myself considering various aspects of the chapter through the day. That is a perfect way to await Our Lord, by thinking about the way he reveals himself to us and getting to know him better.

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