Child, for us sinners, poor and in a manger,
We would embrace thee, with love and awe;
Who would not love thee, loving us so dearly?
We who have many good things, perhaps too many, as even those of us who live relatively simple lives by the standards of our culture do? We are to use these good gifts to show mercy. Not because that makes us especially good or deserving of praise, but because it sets our hearts free from any master less than God and rectifies an injustice that is in fact killing our neighbors.
Christian spirituality worthy of the name must steer clear of two pitfalls. On the one hand, we dare not let our spiritual lives become disembodied and abstract. On the other hand, we dare not fall into despair when we notice the insufficiency of our own this-worldly action, considered in and of itself.
They have no clue that the stranger they meet on the road is Jesus. Which suggests that witnessing the empty tomb is not the same as witnessing the resurrection. The absence of death isn’t the same as the presence of life. Death isn’t an end in itself. The death of Jesus isn’t the end of the story. There is something else that needs to fill that empty space.
One of the greatest challenges to us as church is to go against the culture’s use of time as a commodity, its business model of program evaluation, and its focus on production and consumption. God loves us. God saves us and makes us whole. God rests on the seventh day. If we decide to embody this as church, what will the shape of our time look like? How will we operate differently from the culture around us?
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