My God Is So Small!
Ambrose of Milan, Pastor and Hymnwriter
7 December 2018
Mothers often teach their small children the nursery song, "My God is so big, so strong, and so mighty..." This song is true enough as far as it goes, recounting as it does that God's greatness makes it possible for God to rescue us, "...there's nothing that my God cannot do." However, for us Christians this is only a small part of the story. In fact, all religions believe in their god's basic "big-ness." For example, the basic Islamic confession is that their god, "Allah is greatest." The response of the Christian to this claim is not "Christ is greater!" Such a response sounds like the argument between two young children, who while scuffling threaten each other: "my dad is bigger than your dad!"
 
What is unique to Christianity is the story that Christ the eternal Son of the Father was willing and determined to become small. For us Christians the big, strong, and mighty part of the story is that God is so small, so weak, and so vulnerable in Christ born of Mary. And while it does not fit the tune of the child's ditty, "My God is so small, so weak, and so vulnerable..." it is and remains the Christian truth that Christ is so small that "...there's nothing my God will not do" for the sake of my salvation. This is what our Islamic friends really need to know about the true greatness of God, that He was willing to become small of Mary.
 
The incarnation means that my God is so small. The basic Christian fact of the incarnation flies in the face of the human presupposition that God must be an overwhelmingly grand and glorious presence. How God loves to turn our human expectations precisely on their heads and do what is best for us, rather than what we expect of Him. Perhaps this is why the season of Christmas, quite apart from the frenzy of gift giving, is so attractive to the children (and those who still believe like them) among us. They have a God who is willing to be so small as to be like them and save them. This is a mystery that transcends all wonders.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

   Gregory Thaumaturgus
"The holy Virgin returned to Nazareth (Lk 1:56); and a decree of Caesar led her to come again to Bethlehem (Lk 2:1); and so, as proceeding herself from the royal house, she was brought to the royal house of David along with Joseph her espoused husband. And there ensued the mystery which transcends all wonders,-the Virgin brought forth and bore in her hands Him who bears the whole creation by His Word. 'And there was no room for them in the inn' (Lk 2:7). He found no room who founded the whole earth by His Word. She nourished with her milk Him who imparts sustenance and life to everything that has breath. She wrapped Him in swaddling-clothes who binds the whole creation fast with His Word. She laid Him in a manger who rides seated upon the cherubim. A light from heaven shone round about Him who enlightens the whole creation. The hosts of heaven attended Him with their doxologies who is glorified in heaven from before all ages. A star with its torch guided them who had come from the distant parts of earth toward Him who is the true Orient. From the East came those who brought gifts to Him who for our sakes became poor. And the holy mother of God kept these words, and pondered them in her heart, like one who was the receptacle of all the mysteries."

Gregory Thaumaturgus, Four Homilies
Philippians 2:1-11

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (ESV)
Prayer
O God, You were willing to be so small, so weak and so vulnerable for me, that You might make me great in Your kingdom. Grant me the great and mighty faith whereby I might rejoice in Your littleness and confess it to the world. Amen.
 
For those who will be absorbed by the cares and enticements of the world and will not heed the invitation of Christ to hear His holy Word in divine services, that their hearts might be turned from worldly ways to the true faith
 
For Vicar Blake Martzowka, that God would grant him growth and strength as he prepares to receive the gift of a divine call into the holy ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ
 
For the Sunday School of Memorial Lutheran Church as it prepares to share the smallness of God through their Christmas Program on Christmas Eve
Art: Raffaellino dell Garbo  The Annunciation (c. 1510)
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
© Scott Murray 2018
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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