The other day I was walking down the street when I encountered a woman with two cats. As I stopped to pet and chat, she said they were “rescues” and told me the story of their abandonment as kittens, their journey to the animal shelter and their adoption into her home. I was reminded that it’s only recently we’ve started using “rescue” as a noun to describe a dog or a cat, as in “How cute! Is he a rescue?”
It still seems a funny way to describe pets, but I’ve decided it’s a useful theological way to describe human beings. As Christians, we proclaim that we’re all “rescues” : lost but now found, bound but now free, drowning in sin but saved through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. We may not always feel like rescues. If we’re in good health, successful, and otherwise satisfied we may not think we need to be saved. In times of pain, struggle and doubt we may not believe that we’ve been rescued. And the church has always had trouble explaining exactly how God saves through Christ, and how that salvation works for non-Christians. But still, we confess it. In the words of the Nicene Creed: for us and for our salvation Christ came down from heaven.
And at Christmas we proclaim it joyously in song:
“Good Christian friends, rejoice - Christ was born to save!”
“Silent Night, Holy Night . . . . Christ our Savior is born.”
“Down in a lowly manger, the humble Christ was born, and God sent us salvation that blessed Christmas morn.”
So - go tell it on the mountain! And come let us adore him, on Christmas and every day of the year.
Grace and Peace,