• RSS Subscribe to Blog

  • PAGES

  • RECENT PONDERINGS

  • RECENT COMMENTS

    Steve on SAINTLY?
    Paul Nicholson on SAINTLY?
    RGE on Calling the Shots
    Walter J. Tanner on MARRIAGE EXTENSION
    franiel32 on IN THIS COMPANY
  • ARCHIVES

  • BLOG STATS

    • 107,346 hits

OUR VULNERABLE LEADER

Christians are often accused of being needy people putting their hopes and trusts in a power, note that word, from above, who will muscle into our lives and set things right. It’s an understandable charge. After all, we begin prayers with such words as “Almighty”, conjuring up ideas of all mighty, stronger than strong, a truly muscular Presence.

We live in a world where strength and power are valued. We admire strong leaders, people who have struggled to the top, not only in politics, but in industry, the arts, even in education. If wealth is associated with public stature, so much the better. We even get a kick out of seeing the strong brought down by the power, the strength of the media, social or professional. Watching the strong become weak gives us a vicarious sense of our moral superiority and to be superior is to be strong. We seek ways to protect what we have, what we own, what we value. Even the church employs the majesty of the law to protect its assets. The Church of England recently issued a report about how to recruit efficient, powerful leaders to get things done. The Episcopal Church in a recent report, seeks to empower its leaders to get things done. Most of our campaigns for justice seek to create a forceful power to get things done, to change things for the better.

Yet this evening, Christmas Eve, Christians will go in heart and mind to Bethlehem to see a child lying in a manger. The child who lies there in an animal food trough in a dirty cave we believe to be the same God we call Almighty. Yet this baby, refused even birth in an inn, born without the skill of a midwife, this Baby God/Man, has no power at all. The vulnerable baby relies totally on the love of Mary and Joseph. He begins as he will go on, vulnerable to attack from that old tyrant Herod, later from religious authorities clinging to power, Romans, showing their power and will finally embrace that moment we shall all experience, when we have no power or strength to live. He died on the Cross.

If we see God in the face of Jesus, then we see a very different kind of power than the world understands. After he rose from the dead, Jesus told his disciples that they were going to be made powerful. Finally we get to strength. Hooray. No we don’t. The power is given to the disciples so that they might become witnesses, martyrs, life-givers. Christians who seek an Almighty God to muscle into their lives are doomed to disappointment. God isn’t like that. We cry, “Why didn’t God intervene to prevent a death, a war, a natural disaster.”  The simple truth is that God has intervened. He has intervened in vulnerability. He calls us on Christmas Eve to see him in his helplessness, but a helplessness which draws from shepherds and later wise men enormous devotion and love. There’s the strength of a vulnerable God. He pours forth love and inspires love in us. He challenges us to abjure power, muscle, strength, to admit our weakness and receive gladly the status of being weak with God ( as the world sees weakness ) and yet armed with the enormous power of mercy, forgiveness and a love that changes that which cannot be changed. Holy child of Bethlehem, cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us tonight.

2 Responses

  1. Wonderful, Tony! Thanks and warm wishes for a Blessed Christmas!
    Grace Cangialosi

  2. Thank you Grace. A very blessed Christmas to you.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: