” ‘The medium is the message.’ […]
Marshall McLuhan’s revelatory soundbite enjoys an awkward status in our industry. It’s often parroted but less frequently acted upon and in fact pre-dated a period where agencies and brand-owners actively (and perversely) de-coupled message and media.”
Observing for some years now how message and medium relate to each other (in public as well as in my own life), this brief article by L. Green hits home for me. It is relevant for its primary audience – media, brands, marketers – but for sure also for every reflective human and especially for value-seekers and Christ-followers. After all, what was Christ if not the message imbedded in the medium and the medium in the message!?
God could have chosen to reveal his own character, his love, his plan of redemption in various ways. But the triune God of Scripture chose to reveal himself by becoming human in Jesus Christ, called the Son, God incarnated – an ultimately mysterious blend of the human with the divine. Being born and raised like a normal human, yet living a human life as God originally intended it: in complete harmony with God’s character and love-reflecting standards. So here he was: God being close to humans. Loving them. Acknowledging them. Trusting them. Teaching them. Modeling real love to them. Redeeming them. Sending the message: “Be reconciled to me.” (2 Corinthians 5:20). He chose to send this message by becoming human, by coming here himself.
- Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, (which means, God with us). (Matthew 1:23, all quotes from ESV)
- Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? (John 14:9)
- And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
If the medium, the vessel of God’s message to this world, is a vulnerable, trusting, and loving human, then what does that say about the message God wants to convey? What does that say regarding humans’ first fear of losing out, not being fully what they could be? This fear caused them to lend an open ear to the snake’s words, back then, at the tree: “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman.“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5)
Wasn’t it good to be human? Why being afraid of not being enough? Just because somebody else is something else? Just because God is god? Could we maybe consider the tree of knowledge of good and evil as the first spot where an inferiority complex got instilled into humans – needlessly? And could it be that God chose to (partially) become human (and to remain so for eternity!) in order to show: “It’s actually good to be human!”… ?
He even seems to tie humanity’s collective association back in, when his earthly human life ends on a tree – a voluntary sacrifice of his morally perfect life by the hands of his fear- and complex-stricken creatures that were deceived at a tree with the notion that their lives would not be as valuable as …
If we trust the Biblical report, Jesus Christ lived a loving life. He showed in himself and in his behavior towards all he met the worth and breathtaking beauty of human life as God intended it. Being human with all of the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social aspects that come with being a human. Embracing it all! Living it all! Blessing God for and with it all!
Jesus resisted violence up to the point of self-defying surrender… ultimately dying by the hands of the humans he created.
What a life! What a message! And on top, by his death, he absorbed the collision between justice and grace, which were divided by mistrust. Mistrust in the goodness of human life as created by God. Mistrust in God, ultimately. This collision killed him. He died of a broken heart. A heart that trusted God like no other human ever did – yet had to take the poison of mistrust of all humans. No heart can handle that!
The (Hu)Man who was the medium and the message is alive – just as humans were intended to be. And he has a great deal to share about the breathtaking beauty of how human life was supposed to be… with fully feeling worthy, wanted, and welcome.
Just think about it: how sweet does the genuine trust of humans have to taste, that the highest powers in the universe compete for it?!
Do you want to know more?
Grab a Bible and start reading the Gospels (books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) about the person Jesus Christ. And dive into what it means to be fully (and wonderfully!) human.
And send me a message or comment, if you like to talk a bit…