51 He has shown strength with his arm.
He has scattered those with arrogant thoughts and proud inclinations.
52 He has pulled the powerful down from their thrones
and lifted up the lowly.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away empty-handed. (Luke 1:51-31)
What is always profound to me is the humility of Christ’s coming. It is always a sense of “role reversals.” He doesn’t land in the seat of power. He doesn’t land in the privileged communities.
And that was his choice. He could have landed anywhere. He could have come in any way he chose.
So… he chose humility. He chose the margins.
The past few months have opened doors for me as I have asked the Lord to keep me at “the margins.” How can I keep my eyes open for those society has kicked to the curb? The Spirit has led me in some interesting places. Not many, and I know that’s because I’m not completely ready. It’s my hesitancy, not my “heroics.”
The margins are challenging for me. But in the past few months I have found such deep joy. Every time I come away from a particular encounter I find myself weeping. Just weeping. There is joy as I watch the Spirit work, but there is also a deep cry in my heart, asking God to keep me there. I need that sense of his working in this deep way and even though I’m doing very minimal things at the edges right now, I am finding deep joy.
I am finding deep joy there because I truly believe I am finding Christ. It’s where he chose to land when he came.
Not being Catholic has never kept me from admiring good leadership. And this pope has such a pastoral heart.
“Evangelii Gaudium” (The Joy of the Gospel) was released by the pope today. I have downloaded it, but here are some choice thoughts:
“The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades. This is a very real danger for believers too. Many fall prey to it, and end up resentful, angry and listless.”
This Thanksgiving Week, I am thankful for a man who hears the Gospel so clearly. Lord, help us to have room in our hearts for the poor. Don’t let the stuff of life crowd out your heart!
Luke takes time to emphasize the poor in passages that are similar to Matthew (like the Sermon on the Mount). It’s probably why I like Matthew better! 😉
22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life[b]? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Luke 12:22-34, NIV)