Probably one of the more pretentious things I've ever done with my time.
The angel offered Mary an embarrassing and shameful blessing. The humiliation of the virgin birth itself birthed a bold proclamation of a new kingdom. Mary’s response to embarrassment, “May your word be fulfilled,” is so powerful. And she is called blessed among women for embracing the audacious embarrassment of a Savior born through her.
Lord, let me embrace the shameless call with boldness. Let me respond to your messenger with a resignation to your word. I resign. I resign to your goodness.
Are we prone to anthropomorphize because we are a narcissistic species, or is it a humbling notion that we are not alone in our dependent condition?
Maybe it’s the fact that we pray that separates us from the cycles of the earth. Maybe we are trying to break free from the inescapable wheel within a wheel within a wheel. The cold, hard turning of the earth on it’s axis. It never ceases. That’s what makes hope so audacious. It’s what makes faith so pretentious. To say that in the midst of an infinitesimally large soup of stars and galaxies, the speck of dust that is our existence matters. It’s the most audacious claim one can make. And yet, I believe. Lord, help my unbelief.
It is a faith-filled, reason-lacking idea to say faith and reason can coexist. Because when one takes in a concept “by faith,” it typically means reason has failed to prove or reject some hypothesis. And when one takes in a concept by reason, there is no longer need for faith.
I see lightning in the clouds but I can’t find myself in the distance.
I don’t know why I am drawn to subversion. Maybe it’s just the topsy-turvy nature of it. The low being brought up. The high being brought low. The poor becoming rich. The old becoming new. But the first few chapters of Luke’s Gospel are filled with subversive prayers, prophecies, and exhortations. Mary, after Elizabeth’s confirmation of the Lord’s mission over her to carry God’s Son, gives thanks to God for His mercy and his scattering of the proud and mighty. He “filled the hungry with good things. And the rich He has sent away empty.”
John the Baptist, when asked by the multitudes what they should do in order to escape God’s wrath after he had just called them a “brood of vipers,” addressed three characters: those with more than they needed, tax collectors, and soldiers. He says to those with two jackets, give one to those who have none. He says to those tax collectors not to abuse their authority, but rather collect only what’s appointed of them. And to soldiers, he similarly exhorts them to not intimidate, nor gripe about what they are paid. It’s amazing how this crazy man in the wilderness calls out those in authority to humble themselves and dip in the same water the lowly and the sinners have washed in.
But even John says this is not enough. He says another is coming that will pound His threshing floor to separate the wheat from the chaff, and then winnow it (essentially, throw the broken up pieces of wheat and chaff in the air, and let the chaff blow away while the grain falls to the floor). Threshing is literally where the word “thrashing” comes from. It’s almost a violent act. This is a deeper baptism. A baptism of fire and of the Holy Spirit that one greater than John the Baptist invites us to partake in.
New research indicates that locust swarming behavior is due to fear of cannibalism within the swarm. They run and devour and desolate in order to escape the desire to destroy themselves. I remember when my heart worked[s] in the same way.