Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Life, as it is

"When God wanted to show his deepest feelings about us, he sent His Son. And he didn't send him to live in a castle. He demonstrated God's love in the midst of life at its best and life at its worst. He came into the world in such a way as to say , "I am one of you." Why else would he be born in a manger? It was to say to us that we were never to be surprised at where he turned up. Once and for all he was saying, "I am here to be involved in life."

He entered into life wholeheartedly. He identified with it. He put himself within the limits of life and made no claims of immunity. He joined in exploring its possibilities. He suffered and worked at it. He addressed himself to the ills of society. He pleaded for the poor and defended those who were attacked. He entered into disappointments and struggles that are the daily occurrences of every man's life. He embraced the world as his own. He came into the sweat, dust, and tears of life.

Jesus was a holy man. But I think we often think it was because he withdrew from life. There were times when he had to be alone with the Father. But I am beginning to believe that his holiness did not come because he withdrew from life; he was holy because he entered into life at every level.

Some people imagine a Jesus who, when confronted with sorrow or sickness, slipped into a phone booth and took off his glasses and put on his God suit. It helps me more to know that he didn't have some sort of spiritual overdrive that lifted him out of the context of life. He hung in there and wept and bled and talked and healed. He was not less involved with life than we are. He was infinitely more caught up in it.

As I go to work each morning, I come up the hill to where I-65 and I-24 merge. As you top the hill, you can see the skyline of Nashville in the distance. It is nearly always interesting to see. Sometimes it is sparkling in the morning sunlight and sometimes it is shrouded in fog. As all the lanes come together everyone is jockeying for position. I'm trying to stay in the outside lane as long as I can because it is faster. Finally I have to get over in the right line to catch I-265 around to the office. Other people are trying to do just the opposite. Frankly, I hardly ever pray over the city.

One morning Jesus came riding over the hill from Bethany and looked down on the city of Jerusalem. It was a city that had great meaning to him. It was a city in which he had preached and healed. It was the city in which he was to die. As he saw the city in the morning mist, his eyes filled with tears and he prayed. "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often I would have gathered you to myself, like a mother hen gathers her chicks, but you would not."

Now I ask you, who is the most involved in life? Me, blowing and honking and changing lanes, or Jesus, weeping and praying over the city? Jesus loved life and people and flowers and causes and was more aware of them than we are. In that very sacrament of humanity, his dignity and likeness to his father was magnified. In the process of revealing God to us, he also demonstrates that humanity is possible and desirable.

So the great challenge is for you to live your life in union with him. The union is here. This is the place. You are the one. The union will manifest itself in the everyday noise and the crowded streets of your life. You can be what you are. You can think what you think. You can have your temper. You can have your will. You can have your emotions. He will bring his life as the union. It is in that life together that you are gently transformed and remade."

"See you at the house.", Bob Benson, Generoux Publisher, 1986, pages 53-54)

No comments: