Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Downward mobility...

The society in which we live suggests in countless ways that the way to go is up. Making it to the top, entering the limelight, breaking the record - that's what draws attention, gets us on the front page of the newspaper, and offers us the rewards of money and fame.

The way of Jesus is radically different. It is the way not of upward mobility but of downward mobility. It is going to the bottom, staying behind the sets, and choosing the last place! Why is the way of Jesus worth choosing? Because it is the way to the Kingdom, the way Jesus took, and the way that brings everlasting life.

Henri Nouwen, from Bread for the Journey

Let go of the private dream for the dream of God. Most of us live in the past, carrying our hurts, guilts and fears. We have to face the pain we carry, lest we spend the rest of our lives running away from it or letting it run us. But the only place you'll ever meet the real is now-here. It's the hardest place for us to live, the place where we're most afraid to live, because it feels so empty and boring. Now-here almost always feels like nowhere, and that's precisely where we must go.

Richard Rohr, from Jesus' Plan for a New World

I am so grateful for this movement in my own life. I don't know to what extent I could claim to have chosen this: probably I didn't choose it to any great extent. At the time, each step down seemed like misfortune, or at least force of circumstance. But at each step I met Jesus, holding out his pierced hand to help me down. Truly. This isn't some kind of pious fantasy, but plain experience - as concrete and even ordinary, and yet as glorious, as today's midsummer sunlight.

God's beautiful mercy in Christ is greater than any of the messes we make. John was nothing less than factually accurate when he wrote, (John 1:5) "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it." It doesn't. It couldn't, ever. Put a light in a dark place, and however deep the darkness, the light doesn't grow less - but the darkness lessens...

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