Author Archives: Jim McGuiggan

About Jim McGuiggan

Jim McGuiggan was Ethel's husband for fifty-three years. They have three children and eight grandchildren. Ethel went to be with Christ on Easter Sunday, 2009 at the close of a gallant life. He has written some books including: Celebrating the Wrath of God; Heading Home with God; Life on the Ash Heap; Jesus: Hero of Thy Soul; The God of the Towel, The Scarlet Letter; and The Dragon Slayer.

Michael J. Fox & Robert Louis Stevenson

I’m fairly sure it was the noted author and literary critic, Arthur Quiller-Couch, who said of Robert Louis Stevenson that his life was “one long crucifixion.” Illness plagued RLS. and though he was something like that fine man, Michael J. Fox, who mostly takes the very rough with the smooth, RLS had his times as MJF has when his mental/emotional steadiness gave way as he lay coughing up blood and writhing in pain. Add to that—as if that weren’t enough—the deeper sensitivity of people like Fox and Stevenson as they reflect on the great hurt of the world. Along with the awareness of the incalculable anguish there is the soundless, lingering sense that the great suffering is also the expression of a single “great wrong.”
19th century Irish-born physicist John Tyndall, atheist, observed that his arguments in favor of atheism always felt much stronger when he was depressed and the reverse was true when his world was pleasing. I like it that he said that. I’m not using it as an argument against atheism. I just wish to say it doesn’t surprise me that dark days that come often or stay around and don’t leave—I’m just saying it makes sense to me that we wonder if there is an overarching “right!” or Someone who wants to look after us or Someone who will right all the wrongs and bring about a happy and just end to things.
I mean Someone who like Pip in the John Mills movie adaptation of Great Expectations walks into the gloomy house of death formerly owned by the now deceased gloomy Ms. Havisham to deliver his beloved Estella. She feels this gloom is all there is and so she sits in dust and degradation becoming accustomed to what she sees around her and with the heavy dust-laden curtains always drawn as did the bitter, soulless Ms. Havisham. Pip cries into the air words that defy the lingering spirit of the old woman and runs to the curtains and rips them down from each window and the bright sunshine streams in, exposing the vermin-covered tables, the rotten food and the filth of the furniture and all else. In light of the warm sunshine the astonished Estella sees the room and that house for what it is and sees life with her loved one for what it could and should be and together they walk out into life together.
I’m glad that there are gallant sufferers in the world who rejoice in times of joy, trusting through the sustained heartache. There is a gospel for the happy, thank God! But I’m glad, one way or another, to meet up with people, in literature or life who live well through pain sometimes too difficult to smile about.  It was probably during a period like that that RLS wrote this:
To go on for ever and fail and go on again,
And be mauled to the earth and arise,
And contend for the shade of a word and a thing
not seen with the eyes:
With the half of a broken hope for a pillow at night
That somehow the right is the right
And the smooth shall bloom from the rough:
Lord, if that were enough!
I think that sometimes the Lord Jesus would say, “That’s enough.”

Jesus And Eliza Doolittle

The world doesn’t change? Of course it does! Reality includes thoughts and feelings, purposes and promises, convictions and emotional responses as well as rocks and rivers, mountains and recliner chairs, stars and ancient trees, sub-atomic particles and huge blue whales. Reality includes how we relate to the world that is “not us” and since our views change about people and things around us—the world changes.

Yes, but trees remain trees and streets still streets! Of course, and there’s no point in being silly about that; but what do you think the song-writer had in mind when he has Freddy Eynsford-Hill singing,
“I have often walked down this street before/
But the pavement always stayed beneath my feet before/
All at once am I, several stories high/
Knowing I’m on the street where you live”?
Freddy is now madly in love with Eliza Doolittle and ordinary prose won’t capture what he feels. The world is now new!
Well, that’s just poetry!
What’s just poetry? The way the guy feels! No! That’s not just poetry—the description of what he actually experiences is poetic but the experience, the emotional surge, the joy tinged with a little awe is real! He has changed and because that’s true he no longer feels the same about the street he thought nothing of before. The street has now become “her” street and because it’s hers he relates to it differently and that experience of relating is real, as real as the street he walks on. He knows the street is a street but his love for her invests the street with her presence. To tell him he’s silly, that he doesn’t actually rise off the pavement would be silly—it never entered his head that he did. To tell him he doesn’t feel joy and excitement at being on her street would be to talk nonsense for that’s exactly what he does feel! That long stretch of concrete with brick structures on each side of it will never be the same to him.
Reality (the world) actually changes because reality is perceived and experienced and how we perceive and experience reality changes depending on events or truths or convictions and such.
Well, this is all psychological stuff! Of course it is! Should we pretend otherwise? Humans are more than flesh and blood. They’re embodied dreams and fears, worries and joys, relationships and convictions. Should we pretend that the only reality is what we can bump into or see under a microscope or through a telescope? Reality includes the observer—bumping and telescoping and microscoping and whatever—they’re all possible only to personal observers.
This relational truth about things is not restricted to romance—friendship, parent/child, teacher/student and other relationships work the same transforming magic. The same holds true in our relationship to Jesus Christ for God works at the psychological level as well as all other levels.
I mention all this because just some time ago a young man asked me if the doctrine of the life, cross, resurrection and exaltation of Jesus made any difference to the “now” of people’s lives rather than the future and if it did, in what way.

We should insist, certainly, that a glorious future hope affects the present. Paul thought it should, in 1 Corinthians 15:54-58. He spoke of a coming day when for all who are embraced in Christ’s saving work that death would be obliterated and then he says (15:58 NRSV), “Therefore, my beloved, be…always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” The coming resurrection casts a light on their present lives for the Lord—none of it is lost!

The truth is: faith in Jesus is the future, it is the assurance, it is “being sure” of what we hope for (Hebrews 11:1). But that faith in light of the future (and it should never be severed from that) even now makes the world a different place if we have given ourselves in faith to Christ. As surely as streets remain streets pain and suffering remain pain and suffering but in light of faith in Jesus these realities are not the same; we now relate to them in an altogether different way. The pleasures and joys of life take on a new complexion when they are related to Jesus Christ. So do the  world’s great wrongs and the suffering endured by the plundered poor; tyrants are more tyrannical and sinister, injustice more unjust and self-centeredness less excusable.
If we don’t feel that at any serious level it might well be because we haven’t yet grasped at a significant depth (or been grasped by) the truth in and about Jesus. Perhaps if we spent more time prayerfully and seriously reflecting on the major issues of our faith and less on the needful but relatively peripheral matters we’d discover that the world has changed since He came.
Maybe one day, while we’re working our way through the truth about Him we’ll be transfixed by a realization, our eyes will get big and round and though the emotional experience will calm down the world will never be the same. Truth frees but it also makes us debtors to all those God loves! It isn’t always peace and quiet joy but through His eyes it’s always glorious; always cosmic as well as personal and individual!
A new world IS coming but even now we sense:

Heaven above is softer blue
Earth beneath is sweeter green,
Something lives in every hue
That Christless eyes have never seen.
Birds with gladder songs overflow
Stars with deeper beauty shine,
Since I know as now I know
I am his and he is mine.

Write me if you wish if you feel the need: holywoodjk@aol.com

Death Of A Tyrant

“…see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today you shall never see again, The Lord will fight for you and you have only to keep still.”     Exodus 14:13b-14

The ancient Greeks told stories of Si-syphus, the cunning founder of Corinth. For making fools of the gods of the underworld he was punished to labor at a hopeless task. He was to roll a huge block of granite up a high, very steep hill and roll it down the other side. Each time he got the huge stone to the pinnacle his strength was gone and it rolled back down to the bottom. It wasn’t just the effort that bathed him in sweat and exhausted him completely that made the punishment intolerable; it was the “almost but never” aspect of it coupled with the unceasing conviction that the next time he could manage it.
Exodus 14 tells of Israel trapped between the Red Sea and the most powerful army in the world, between an insurmountable obstacle to freedom and a return to pitiless tyranny. In response to their despairing protests Moses assures them God will deliver them. “You see these Egyptians?” said God (14:13), “you will see them again no more, for ever!” The waters opened up for Israel and closed to bury forever the army of their bitter oppressor. The text tells us that Israel looked at the dead bodies of their once feared tormentors and believed in God and Moses. Finally! Those who picked their bones clean, those who bled them white were dead! “You will never see them again” said God. Whatever they had to face in years ahead—that battle was won and it would remain as a prophecy, a promise that nothing was beyond their hope if it rested in God! See Deuteronomy 7:17-19.
Years of torture, generations of humiliation—ended. How many rebellions had been planned and come to nothing? How often had they turned their eyes heavenward in despair? The hope born in youth would often die in old age. Optimism and cheerfulness would have been replaced in a nation’s heart by grim submission and a sullen endurance. Then with such speed and finality the tyranny was obliterated and the years of bondage were forgotten in the joy of liberty as they gaped on the corpses of their oppressors on the shores of the Sea (14:30).
And has “the Exodus” no message for the world at large? Is there any aspect of biblical teaching more eagerly sought than the message that the God of all the earth hates oppression, punishes unrepentant oppressors, takes note of the weeping of the poor and exploited and that the Lord of all the earth will right all wrongs? Israel wasn’t just lucky that their God happened to hate cruelty and felt the pain of the defenseless. No, Israel’s God is the God of all humans and they all need to hear that He is as opposed to their tormentors as He was to Israel’s! This is the one true God we must take to the nations of the world who have turned their eyes to lifeless idols or dark and savage deities or even to governments that lack the power and heart to brings us to where we finally long to go.
Well-bred and well-fed secularists sneer at a message which has become too familiar to them but which has laid the foundations of their freedom and prosperity. Clark Pinnock protests that we in the West allow the bored and argumentative secularists to set the agenda for our proclamation while multiplied millions of religious people are eager and need to hear about the true God who delivers the oppressed from the clutches of their enemies (see Psalm 10). Since secularists thrust the message from them perhaps we should turn to the rest of the world and (maybe) they will hear.
But the message of “the Exodus” is not only for brutalized nations and communities; it has a word of assurance and hope for all who suffer under tyranny of any sort. Too many of us have lived under a tyranny of a personal nature such as uncleanness, bitterness, drunkenness, greed, gossip, arrogance, immorality and self-righteousness.
To be endlessly assured that we we’re forgiven is grand but not nearly enough. Years ago we became captives; so long ago, perhaps, that we can’t remember when we knew what freedom was. There was never a doubt in our minds that it was slavery and there never was a time when we didn’t long to be free but endless rebellions, countless uprisings against the dictator came to nothing, hope died and we were left with gloomy a view of the future; a future in which we saw ourselves as old men and old women still in the clutches of a cruel parasite and when that became our vision life became grim submission and a joyless patience. Better than nothing, of course, but so far beneath the life in which the soul dares to believe that the tyrant can and will be destroyed.
Then one day it happened. For some of us the calendar could be marked because on that day our Redeemer arrived, not silently and in secret but as though with a mighty rush of water and we saw the enemy dead and lying all around us. For many of us the passage from death to life, from slavery to liberty, from shame and humiliation to honor, happened without our noticing it and the tyrants we saw in former days passed away. We saw them again no more. Whatever the future was to hold, whatever tyrant we were to face—we’d see that slave-lord never again—not ever.
(I don’t believe every person is enslaved to a particular besetting sin that is of life-destroying proportions. I believe that every person—no exceptions—is in dire need of saving and keeping grace. I believe that every person—no exceptions—can be humbled by a tyrant and I believe that there are those who haven’t yet seen their bondage. Comparing themselves with themselves they’re blinded by their own glory. I believe that God is anxious to deliver hosts of us not from particular and grievous wickedness but from pathetic lives, shallow views and trivial pursuits. But it’s mainly for those who struggle with evils that single them out, evils that make others doubt the genuineness of their discipleship, evils that cause even themselves to doubt their longing for a holy freedom—it’s to those that these words are especially aimed.)
The healing of others mustn’t be viewed as one more nail in our coffin but as another prophecy, another assurance that tyranny will die; that God will not allow his child to vanish without rescue. Your day is coming. Your name is not Si-syphus. Those who have never known a deep, enduring and awful struggle can still sympathize and are praying you on. Those who have finally found God’s redeemer in a friend, a husband, a wife, a child, a parent, a doctor and now know the joy of liberation, they are urging you on. One day God looking out of heaven will hear you, out of the darkness of your own crucifixion, taking on your lips the words his own Son had on his: “It is finished!” Finished the power and lure of the evil; finished the shame and humiliation of it; the bird has escaped the snare and the tyrant is dead!
Psalm 124.

I’ve taken this from HEADING HOME WITH GOD. Amazon has it.

The Dragon & Shape-Shifting

So a preacher says, “The Bible is a book on a journey.” I don’t think I have a major quarrel with the wording. But I’m old enough now to observe the shift of “authority”. It used to be, “the Bible.” That is, the Bible carefully listened to. It used to be the Bible listened to as the place where the authority of God (and there is no other authority!) is peculiarly though not exclusively expressed (note Psalm 19 with Genesis 1 assisting it).
It isn’t as easy to “listen carefully” to the Holy Scriptures as some preachers say but it was and is the task that devoted and fervent believers felt and feel they were called to and it became for them, “faith seeking understanding” from the Holy Scriptures.

But we became “wise” as we ate from the “tree of knowledge” (Genesis 3:6) and the gifts God gave us as humans—gifts like intellect, reason and rationality, creative imagination and literary skill were used against God and the Holy Scriptures.

Our rational capacity could be corrupted and we could logic our way to become fools even while we could make logical arguments to vindicate our logic. Before one knows it A requires B and B requires C and C necessitates D and that logic is unassailable but then we find ourselves at T and sense that something is wrong. But we got to T via unassailable logic and there’s no going back so we travel on to WXY and find we’re saying things that make no sense. Some of us then pick out a place where we feel comfortable, maybe U, and call anything more than that “extreme”.

That move works well in some ways. It allows one to stay “in the game”—the Bible game, I mean, the religious, moral game I mean. You can still appeal to the Bible for support when it agrees with your rational and cultural/social convictions. It’s a “wise” move that. It’s the move the “bold” Enlightenment thinkers took when they appealed to “Jesus” while dismissing what the Holy Scriptures say about Him—while dismissing what the Holy Scriptures say He said about Himself. Schüssler Fiorenza laments that the Bible is not going away soon and is a world-shaper so it’s still important to use it when it supports one’s social/religious convictions. That way fervent believers might think you really think highly of the Bible—that you might even think it is somehow “the Word of God” when in fact you believe it’s only the convictions of ancient religious people shaped by their culture and their intellectual limits and is utterly false in who knows how many ways.
But with the new-found wisdom we feel rationally and socially comfortable. We like letter D, stop there and call the P’s and Q’s extreme. Then it dawns on some of us that we’re not appealing to the Bible we’re really appealing to ourselves. We find ourselves dismissing Paul with words like, “Paul is just another fella with religious and theological opinions—some of them good and some of them not at all good.” I’ve come across some of us who thought Paul tried to make his case for change, failed to do it and settled for a status quo that he knew was wrong and against the gospel he preached.
I don’t have all the answers for ANYTHING but I am persuaded that we underestimate how sly, and smooth, and plausible and persuasive evil is. It comes whispering to us that we’re entirely reconfiguring the Bible on the basis of good sound logic and heartfelt honesty.
But what if this thing that breeds in the dark, that feeds on the corruption of the mind and throws us morsels of truth and gobs of plausibility from a cultural anthropologist here, a linguistics specialist there or a gifted philosophical theologian somewhere else and we end up with a certain mindset made up of bits and pieces thrown together from a hundred different quarters and Jesus Christ Himself (whatever “He” or “it” He turns out to be—the god Sophia or a worshipper of the god Sophia, as some are telling us)—what if He is irrelevant?
GB Caird in his Language & Imagery of the Bible opens his book confessing he is “an amateur” in the area in which he now writes but goes on to say that’s how it is with everyone because no one can become an expert in more than a couple of areas in a lifetime. He’s right, of course.
Scholar A relies on scholar B in another field and B relies on C and C relies on D and we the rank and file rely on a wide scattering of opinions woven together by preaching amateurs we pay good wages to—thinking they’re experts and firm believers in what they preach. Not long ago I heard a university professor explain what Walter Brueggemann has done for Churches of Christ. Bless me, if you could make that case stick I suppose you can make anything stick.

I have no deep-laid concerns about the future of the Church that is the Body of Christ. When the smoke cleared after Her war with the Roman Empire John shows her as beautiful, indestructible (with walls 1400 miles high) and with God dwelling in Her. Rome, the Empire Structure, I mean, that had its authority and power from the Dragon (Revelation 13:4) was just another satanic expression of what is anti-God, anti-life and anti-human, as was Pharaoh and Assyria and Babylon. Ancient or modern, military, social, cultural, economic, literary, political or whatever empires and movements—none of these is new to God or to His People, those who in their pain or confusion, even when they gasp with Habakkuk at what they see and hear and fear. They will still wait at their post until they hear God say “Those that trust, those that are trustworthy will live that way and they will rejoice at a happy ending.” Habakkuk 2:1-4; 3;16-19.
It shouldn’t surprise us if every now and then we hear of some teacher/preacher throwing his/her Bible on to the lower shelf, believing now it has nothing to offer that can’t be got somewhere else.
But then there’s that Jesus Christ.

Maybe everything will work out okay if we dump everything said about Him, everything He (is alleged to have) said.
Good luck with that.
If Jesus is dead, said the currently much-maligned Paul, “We have nothing to preach! Nothing to believe! We’re still in our sins, without hope that is real, our beloveds along with numberless faith-filled believers have perished and of all the people in the world we are the most to be pitied because we have been the most duped.” Then he tires of the hypothetical and shouts out:

“BUT NOW IS CHRIST RISEN!” and our response is:

“He is Risen indeed!!!!!”

And that’s more than enough!!!!

 

 

 

Nothing! Absolutely Nothing!

“And if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ,
if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”
Romans 8:17.
Heirs with Him, sufferers with Him, glorified with Him.
It’s fairly easy for us to think we are heirs of whatever God has in mind for us (see 4:13, 16) and the promises of Abraham, expanded by Paul from Canaan to “the world.” Note 8:18-21.
Those of faith are heirs but 8:17 says Christ too is an “heir”. Jesus Christ is the man GOD is being but it’s critically important that we remember that He is the MAN God is being. He’s one of us. What God’s law/will for us couldn’t bring about because of our moral/spiritual corruptness (5:6-8) God accomplished by sending His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh (humanity)—8:3; John 1:14; Hebrews 2:10-14.

Romans 5:20-21 provoked the need for Paul to defend his gospel and its relation to the law/will of God (6:1-2) and the discussion goes all the way through to 8:13. At that point he returns to the Abrahamic promises (4:1—5:2) as they are fulfilled in the Lord Jesus (note 5:17, 19, 21). Note the words “glory” and “reigning” and “tribulation”.
Well, that’s all very well, in Adam we inherit sin and death and in Jesus we inherit forgiveness and life, but where’s the glory? It’s coming, in its fullness. Yes, that sounds like “fine print” that undermines the reality promised. If glory is “in Christ” those who have trusted themselves ought to have it now. Where is the glory that’s promised?
We inherit and reign with Him if we are “in Him” and are one with Him (8:17). He is not only the author and guarantee of life and glory He is the way, the model, of how it comes about! This entire section 8:17-39 is part of a theology of suffering that multiplied millions never earned in a world they didn’t build. But it deals particularly with the mission and destiny of the Church.

8:28-29 says all things work together for the good for the called who love God, “for whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren…”

The section is not saying Jesus was kind, compassionate, righteous and more—of course He was/is all that. That’s not the point here. God eternally purposed a People (the Church) who would image the Lord Jesus in His suffering and the glory that followed (see 1 Peter 1:11; Luke 24:25-27, 44-46; Matthew 16:21-23; Acts 17:2-3, passim).
He came into the world to share the suffering of the world, to weep and hurt, to anguish over their disease, to take on His heart their illnesses and destroy Death(Matthew 8:16-17; Heb. 2:14) and experience the injustice they lived under—He wanted to be our brother and wasn’t ashamed of that (Hebrews 2:10-11; 11:16). He modeled life lived for God in a world that has experienced a cosmic moral wreck (1 Peter 2:21; 2 Corinthians 5:15; Ephesians 5:1-2).
He saw their weariness and watched the powerful humiliate them and enslave them, He saw religion that should have lifted their hearts and given them assurance become chains that bound them and further wearied them. He denounced and damned all that but He did more, He chose to share it. He didn’t worship pain! He didn’t shrug at injustice and oppression, He came to expose and destroy it! This is what the Church is called to be and do—image Jesus Christ. Jesus is not the firstborn alone! He wouldn’t have it that way! He chose to be the firstborn among many sisters and brothers! He wouldn’t distance Himself from us; He was GOD with us! Living with us amid the ruins!
So we aren’t getting our rights, so we’re suffering injustice, so our prayers aren’t being answered how and when we think they should be. So we’re sharing the world’s cancers, heart diseases, broken marriages, humiliation, loneliness, confusion, so we wrestle with drives we never invited into our lives and can’t yet get rid of them—so we don’t get exemption from the crushing experiences of the human condition. Should we shrug at all that as if it were nothing? He didn’t! Look at Jesus! Dear God, look at Him! Does He look or speak as if such things don’t matter to Him? Was He sadist or masochist? Did He act like that?
Romans 8:31-39 says nothing we see, hear or experience proves God doesn’t care! Nothing! Over against all the horrors, the agony, and anguish, over against all the unanswered questions and the hard religion and theology that arms itself with verses from here and there—over against all that stands Jesus Christ and beside Him men and women, girls and boys who have been called to be conformed to image Him that He might be the preeminent One among many fellow-heirs.
The current suffering is not worthy to be compared
to the glory to come. (8:18)

(Holy and Compassionate Father, you know how hard it is for the real sufferers to believe you care. For them life is savage! But if you are really imaged in Jesus Christ we trust you because He trusted you and we wish to image Him as He images you. Help us to believe that our share in their sufferings plays a part in glorifying Jesus. We’re profoundly glad that you will judge the world in fairness and righteousness in and through our Lord and Savior Jesus and we think noble things of you. In the name of Christ and for the sake of the plundered poor whose brother He is we pray.)

 

 

Can You Believe This? It’s a Mystery

Jesus repeatedly made the point that the entire OT came to fulfillment in Him. It’s foolishness to think He meant every verse and every event recorded in some immediate way has Him in view. It’s also foolishness to think that He meant we should look for a prediction here and there, put them like pearls on a necklace and we’d have Him. He at least means (as Stephen in Acts 7 and Paul in Acts 13 showed) that the self-revelation of God in keeping with His creation and redemptive purpose & in keeping with His promises remain constant and that they are to be seen in the narrative and words of Moses, Prophets & Psalms (Writings) That’s the claim of Jesus in John 5, Luke 24 (twice) and elsewhere.

“It all comes to fulfillment in Me,” Jesus claims and His witnesses agree. See texts like Romans 1:1-4; John 1:45; Acts 2 & 3; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, “according to the scriptures”; 2 Corinthians 1:2, passim.

We see Jesus mainly as a savior from sins and most of our speech is about His cross and His dying. We don’t teach/preach much on His resurrection and the little we hear about it has to do with what happens when He returns. Nothing much is said that relates it to God’s creative purpose to create a human family, glorious and immortal to be His companions in unending LIFE and adventure, righteousness, joy and peace with the incarnate Lord Jesus and even less about Jesus indwelling the Church now by His Holy Spirit.
Our doctrine about Christ must include the deity and humanity of Jesus of Nazareth. Not only does He work our redemption and deliverance from all that is satanic, that is anti-God, anti-human and anti-life, He is Himself the complete embodiment of the triumph over the satanic forces. As a human, the human that God is being, Jesus of Nazareth conquered Sin by resisting all satanic temptation and deception, by refusing satanic promises of power, by totally rejecting self-sufficiency and relying completely on God to give Him life—In all that He triumphed over Sin (see the temptation narrative in Matthew 4:1-11). In rising from the dead never to die again He conquered Death.
And all He was and did He was and did as “the Seed of the woman.” Not as the seed of the man! Note the Genesis 3:15 text. God makes the woman to be the satanic figure’s enemy, God makes the woman’s children the enemies of the satanic figure’s children and God makes the woman’s particular child the crusher of Satan and it is the woman’s child that is bruised in accomplishing that triumph. (Note Romans 16:20 for her children’s victory.)
Paul reminds us in Galatians 4:4 that Jesus was “made of a woman.” Not that He was made of a man! The Greek text doesn’t say He was “born” of a woman but that He was “made” of a woman. I’m taking it that this is an echo of Genesis 2:22 where the woman was “made” (built) of a man.
In Jesus we have the perfect union of male and female, distinguishable (!!) yes, but not separable. Here in Jesus we have the new “image of God” (see Genesis 1:26-27; 5:2).
In His rising immortal, triumphant over Sin & Death humankind rises with Him. The image of God in the first phase of creation chose death without God (Genesis 1:26-27 and 3:1-13) and the new image of God chose LIFE in and with God (see Colossians 1:15; 2 Corinthians 3:18 and 4:4).
The old mortal image of God (Genesis 1:26-27; 5:2) dies in creaturely weakness and the new image of God ascends to immortality, power and glory. The old mortal image brought Sin and Death, the new image (last Adam) brings life and righteousness (Romans 5:12-21; 1 Corinthians 15:45ff, “life-bringing spirit). The one who is received up in glory is triumphant humankind, male and female, the glory and image of GOD, not separable though distinguishable (see 1 Corinthians 11:11)

“This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the Church.”

[Holy Father, deliver us from all that is satanic that sets women against men and men against woman and enable us to sense the great and wondrous mystery. This prayer in your Son who is the embodiment of yourself in union with man and woman.)

See Yon Wicker Gate?

For now we live in creaturely weakness and all the limits that go with that as we move toward old age and death.
When we’re young we feel immortal (though we don’t think of such matters)–that’s a good thing. The young should be allowed to be young. But as we age the world gets to be less and less a playground, the challenges we face and the decisions we must make have greater consequences and require more wisdom. If we’re fortunate we recognize our limits and if there are many options and each of them with pros and cons we become uncertain. Which? Where? How? When? What if? Ten thousand voices are whispering or shouting and confusion and uncertainty get married.

Life is too complex for any woman or man (or group of men and women) to know all the answers to even personal living much less to be able to micromanage a family, a nation or a world.
John Bunyan in the last half of the 17th century wrote an allegorical novel called Pilgrim’s Progress. Bless me, did you know that book has never been out of print though it was written well over 300 years ago? Its style makes it harder for us to read (some updated versions are on offer). Whatever its limitations it hasn’t been translated into something like 200 languages and dialects for nothing.

In the opening he falls asleep in a cave and dreams. In it the dream he sees a raggedly dressed man with a book in his hand and a great burden on his back. The man reads from the book and becomes extremely agitated and cries out, “What shall I do?” He has learned of a great catastrophe ahead for the city in which he lived and he wants to escape it but he doesn’t know how to do that. Later as he walks in the fields, still reading from the book and even more distressed the man meets one called The Evangelist who hears the man’s story of fear and the burden he carries and The Evangelist urges him to flee from the calamity to come. The distraught man responds, “But where should I flee to?”
The Evangelist points and says, Do you see yon wicker gate?” The confused man peers in that direction but confesses he can’t see it. “Well, do you see that light shining?” The man says he thinks he can see that. “Then keep you eye on the light and go straight at it and you will come to the wicker gate. Knock on it and it will be opened for you and you will be told what you are to do.”
I don’t know how many streams feed my confusion and the uncertainty that comes with it. In relation to many questions in life and living and on a regular basis I have to admit “I can’t see the wicker gate.” Nevertheless, I’m certain there’s a steady light in the distance that I can see and I’m keeping my eyes on that.

[So grateful Holy One, that your Word is a steady light way ahead of us to which we can look for direction and a lamp for our feet so we can see the killing swamps. Stay near, we pray, for we are so easily confused and we desperately need your clarity and grace to walk with assurance. This prayer in the name of the Lord Jesus, the Light of the world.]