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.
(This is taken from a newsletter sent out a couple of years ago. Having had a number of conversations about my observations on spiritual warfare in Bali, I thought it would be helpful to make it public.) Recently a friend of ours, Adam, came to visit us. One day we arranged for a Hindu friend (Mr. T) who is a driver to take him around a particular area, and that evening ended up at Mr.T’s house enjoying traditional Balinese hospitality. At…
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.
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
Childbearing is radically different from the sacrifice system requiring the blood of the innocent in order to prevent ongoing violence between enemies. Instead, childbearing is the is the spilled blood of the willing in order to bring new life.
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.
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.
But what about the children for whom rescue never comes? What about the ones who will never be restored to their families or who will never play the role of a hero? Can God do nothing with their lives? Are they exempt from the affirmation that they are essential to the kingdom of God? Is participation in God’s kingdom limited only to those whose lives mirror Joseph’s story on some level?
I think that there is something very TRUE about our faith being lived out in our actions. It is RIGHT that we associate our good works with pleasing our God. Those are very sacred, holy things. What isn’t so holy is when my perspective isn’t just a vertical glance, but a horizontal one as well. It’s when I start looking at what others are offering Jesus and feel either defeated or superior that things get a little crooked.
The way of the cross might be a pathway to the joy of being aligned with the One who will eventually make all things right, but it is also the path of a Savior who is chose to empathize with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3). To erase these very real parts of Christ’s identity is to rewrite who he actually was. To act like we are to do anything other than to emulate him is to place ourselves above him.