I think it’s the theme of my life… there are more people and nations that he will give in exchange for my life. It’s not because I’m somehow extraordinary, but simply that any person who knows in their bones that they are precious and honored and loved is compelling to other hungry souls. And I am that.
I’ve never been much of a collector. If anything, I love throwing things away. Probably a consequence of a life lived on the move since childhood. I hold onto material possessions lightly, and there are precious few things that I can say have any real sentimental value to me. One of the few exceptions is sea glass. On my honeymoon fourteen years ago, I started keeping the sea glass that I found on my walks along the shores in whatever…
Mary, however, did not need to learn who he was. She knew exactly what his identity was from his first breath even if she had no idea how this God-child of hers would accomplish his mission.
In a linear perspective, one “winter” is okay, but another is a crisis. But this isn’t the reality of nature or faith. We are seasonal beings, and every season contains both hope and hints of the coming change.
Sometimes people ask what it is like spending time in brothels with trafficking victims when I am powerless to do anything about it. This is it. It feels like a choice to love and a choice to give whatever I do have, even if it is only an offer to walk through the valley of the shadows alongside. I do it because the women and girls that I encounter are worthy of being loved. They are worth crying for when things do not turn out like I wanted.
The startling aspect of this notion is that if Jesus was fully human and “grew in wisdom” that means that his sinlessness wasn’t in that he always knew everything and had all the answers so much as that when he faced any decision, he always chose the right path, the godly path
Everything her traffickers did for her, providing food, clothing, and the bed she slept on or paying for her bus ticket to Bali, became a debt. And until she pays it off she cannot not leave the brothel premises. She hasn’t been outside the gate in four months.
The call isn’t out there at all, it’s inside me… I am Moana. This declaration isn’t arrogance. When we understand that we are God’s beloved, uniquely and perfectly made, called to the wildness of his sea, there isn’t much left to do but walk in that knowledge. It changes everything. It empowers us to do what feels absurdly difficult. It allows us to live beyond ourselves for the good of others. It gives birth to joy and peace and love.
While others packed up and retreated in their grief (or fear of being associated with someone recently executed), Mary defiantly stayed and watched for the hours between Christ’s death and resurrection, perhaps even staring at the guards placed there to make sure no one messed with his body. I wonder if she knew what was coming?
Too often in Christian circles faith is equated with more certainty. More certainty means more faith. The truly mature do not doubt, or so the line goes. But that is a Western cultural perception that has everything to do with how much we live in our heads and intellectualize faith and very little to do with how Scripture describes the essence of a faithful life.