Happy New Year! Merry belated Christmas!
Hope you have made some wonderful memories with friends and family. I know my family and i have....
I want to start the new year with a photo which to me represents the heart of being a Christian.
This image speaks volumes to me.
I've been trying since Pope Francis was elected to sum up all i feel about it; and to be honest, i still don't have all the right words. But i do know this - with every word he speaks, there's a resounding "Amen" with each message.
Catholics believe that each election of a new Pope isn’t just guided by human wisdom, but rather informed by the gift of faith. Otherwise, it probably wouldn’t really be worth believing in. With the election of Pope Francis, there continues a particular timeliness to it. Like John Paul the 2 and the fall of communism, or Pope Benedict XVI and the rise of relativism, there is Pope Francis, who has a heart to deal with those on the margins of society, and the margins of the Church.
That said, back to the photo. This is from last year when, during a gathering addressing the role of the family in society, a young boy wandered onto the stage where the Pope was giving a message. Here's a link to the whole story.
There's so much to this moment that is entirely relatable to the life of a Christian.
But i just want to focus on one thing: the Pope's facial expression.
What do you see?
Think about it. go back up and look.
Here's what i see: wonder. awe. suprise. admiration.
Here's what i don't see: scandal. fear. judgement. anxiety. shock.
I think the God of the scriptures is all about suprising us with situations that will challenge our conventions of what is proper and polite and acceptable versus what is scandalous in the eyes of a particular society.
Jesus was God, and yet also fully man; and i don't think our humanity scandalized Him. In fact, He chose to wear it skindeep; and in that wearing of it, He came so much in contact with our humanity that it is unable to be the same. God touches our humanity in the Incarnation (i.e - what we all celebrated, "Christmas") in such a way that it left an indellible mark on history.
See, I think the Pope isn't just admiring a young boy. I think the Spirit of God alive and well in Him is reminding him to admire the face of God, hiding in an unpredictable situation. Maybe that's the secret to living out the incarnation - maybe we're supposed to always be looking for Jesus - and not just assuming we're the ones carrying Him. Sometimes it means looking in the face of your little child and realizing the thing you treasure in them isn't you - it's God. Sometimes that means looking in a mirror and trying to see what God sees, cause you just see your brokeness. Sometimes it means going outside yourself, to where He's already doing something.
I pray that in 2014, i have the courage to do that more and more every day.