Sunday, 22 December 2013

Higher and Lower

Nouwen’s fourth of his Letters to Marc about Jesus focusses on the idea of Jesus as the descending God.  Jesus comes down to our level.  That is what the incarnation is.  Nouwen talks about Jean Vanier’s founding of the first L’Arche community by saying – “He renounced a career that would take him higher and higher up the ladder of success for a vocation that brought him down to the level of the poor, the weak, the sick and those in distress.  It has become very clear to me now that the further you descend, the more your eyes are opened to the brokenness of our humanity.”

We tend to want to climb the ladder – indeed, that’s an expression we would use.  We are looking for power and greatness.  Jesus wants to tell us to find those things by looking to weakness and servanthood.  And Jesus certainly provides us with a model.  As Nouwen points out, “Again and again you see how Jesus opts for what is small, hidden and poor, and accordingly declines to wield influence.”

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