V 14. So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.
It is instructive to see how different bible translators have tried to convey the meaning of the words ‘made his home among us’. ‘Moved into the neighbourhood’, ‘Pitched his tent among us’, ‘lived here on earth among us’, ‘Took up residence among us.’ All these convey the essential truth that God totally identified with humanity and fully shared in its life. It is not that he became like us – he actually became one of us with this single exception, he never sinned. It was in the mind and character of God, not to just reach out to humanity but to come out to meet them and share in life with them.
To be a God-shaped Church involves climbing out of the comfortable God-life we share with others and immersing ourselves in the messy business of the world’s life.
So while we generally use the word ‘Incarnation’ to express what God did in coming to us in the person of Jesus, we can also use it to express how the God-shaped church is to be as it reaches out to, and comes out to meet a world that is far from God.