Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sing A Song Of A Subversive Savior

This week's scriptures are Micah 5:2-5 and Luke 1:46-55

In my reading as I prepare for Sunday I have been once again reminded that one of the themes that permeates Hebrew scripture is that of God reaching down to find the lowest and the least to carry forward the revelation of God in the world. Mary's Magnificat reminds us of this again.

At one level we shouldn't be suprised that God would act this way: using a peasant girl to bring an infant 'God with us' into the world to turn the power structure upside down. That's the way God's been doing it all along!

But the Gospel has too often been co-opted by those in power. So often that they actually come to believe that their money and their position is a sign of God's favor and the poverty of others a sign of God's judgement. This "Gospel of Prosperity" has many voices. They speak, directly or indirectly, of financial, social, emotional, and physical success as the things God loves. How many of us grew up with the sneaky suspicion that God loved the Prom Queen and the Football Star more than God loved us? That if we would only work harder, study harder, lift weights more, become more beautiful....then God would love us more too. The addendum to that striving was a belief that we needed to hide every blemish, every shortcoming, every fear, everything that didn't match the cultural picture of success and goodness.

And so we all (because the truth is none of us measure up; we're just afraid others will notice) hid those parts of ourselves away. All too often it affected the way we responded to those around us whose limitations or needs were obvious. All of us have, in some way, been wounded by the heresy of the cultural religiousity outlined above.

Christmas...Thank God...reminds that "God comes in through the wound." God comes into our world where the wounds of poverty and violence and oppression cry out for relief. God comes into our lives where the wounds of our weaknesses, our personal pain, our griefs cry out for healing. This is truly a "subversive savior"; coming unlike a powerful ruler, he is laid in a manger. Through the most unlikely means, to the most unlikely people, God continues doing what God has done throughout creation: redeeming, healing, loving, calling the world into relationship with God's Self in a way that turns The Way Things Are on its ear.

This little slip of a girl, Mary, is going to sing. She's going to sing for herself, and Elizabeth, and her baby growing in her. It probably wouldn't have been safe to sing this song anywhere else, to anyone else. But Mary was overcome with the wonder of it all, and she sang. I have to believe that God smiled...cause at least for that moment, Mary understood God's heart.

See you Sunday.

1 comment:

Jeremy said...

Those I've mentioned it before, I love the idea of Jesus as a subversive savior. It goes beyond just righting the wrongs and happiness - viewing Jesus in this way gets us a little closer to a complete view of Jesus (though such a thing isn't really possible, I'd imagine).

What is a little troubling to me personally is that I like to think of Jesus only overturning those in power, or perhaps subverting and re-purposing other people's power relationships and behaviors. After all, I'm not oppressing anyone, right?


I shudder to think of what my life would like look tipped upside down...if I had to re-evaluate everything (or almost everything) I knew)...if things were even more disorderly than Evan is making them - all of which is pretty hard to imagine and hard to being to accept. Thank God that there's more to it than that, and that Jesus has my back even as he's stirring things up.