Sunday, November 30, 2014

Jesus Moved into a Bad Neighborhood

From Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals.  It is an amazing daily prayer book that will change the way you start your day.  You can buy it here or read it online here.

Everything in our society teaches us to move away from suffering, to move out of neighborhoods where there is high crime, to move away from people who don’t look like us.

But the gospel calls us to something altogether different. We are to laugh at fear, to lean into suffering, to open ourselves to the stranger.

Advent is the season when we remember how Jesus put on flesh and moved into the neighborhood. God getting born in a barn reminds us that God shows up in the most forsaken corners of the earth. 

Wherever we come from, Jesus teaches us that good can happen where we are, even if real-estate agents and politicians aren’t interested in our neighborhoods. Jesus comes from Nazareth, a town from which folks said nothing good could come. He knew suffering from the moment he entered the world as a baby refugee born in the middle of a genocide. Jesus knew poverty and pain until he was tortured and executed on a Roman cross.

This is the Jesus we are called to follow. With his coming we learn that the most dangerous place for Christians to be is in comfort and safety, detached from the suffering of others. Places that are physically safe can be spiritually deadly.

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