“If God Is Not Incarnate” by Edward R. Burns

If God Is Not Incarnate

If God is not incarnate we are all in trouble
and cynicism wins the Super Bowl
of contesting cults and ideologies.

If God is not our mercy
a million Christmas lights will not suffice
to overcome the darkness that is in us.

If God is not our savior
then “life’s a bitch”
and “he who dies with the most toys truly wins.”

If God is not our sister, brother, mother,
then we have lost our way
and wander dry and thirst in the desert.

If God does not taste our humanity
then none of us are real
but live instead a grim routine of seeming.

If God is not a child
then we lose all our innocence
to power and dominion of each other.

If God dwells not among us
then we are lonely strangers
eclipsed in time and space that has no meaning.

But lo! Fear not!
I bring you tidings other than
a quiet desperation without end.

The mighty Word of God
has loved us into a new creation
that is holy.

O admirabile commercium!
O felix culpa.
O felicitas.

Edward R. Burns is a licensed marital and family therapist living in Litchfield, Connecticut, where he maintains a private practice treating individuals, couples, and families. He is the author, most recently, of The Sacredness and Profound Depths of Being Human: Reflections on the Manifold Forms and Unexpected Epiphanies of the Incarnation, available here.

Image: José Ferraz de Almeida Júnior, Detail from “Study for Flight of the Holy Family to Egypt,” c. 1881.
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