by Christine Sine
Vulnerable is the second word in my Advent garden.
When I wrote it I was thinking about Mary’s vulnerability – powerless and open to attack. I was thinking too of the Marylike people in our world today who are also vulnerable because of their powerlessness – those caught in the grip of poverty, abuse, racial & sexual discrimination, refugees, the disabled. The list of the victims of powerlessness is so long it is overwhelming. And to that I add the vulnerability of our planet – 1 million species that might become extinct in the near future, fires raging in the Amazon and Australia, climate change ravaging our planet.
This too is overwhelming, but that I realize is what vulnerability is all about – feeling powerless in the face of power and wealth. And that is how many of us feel today. We are all feeling vulnerable as we face the uncertainties of the future and it’s a hard place to be in.
What makes you feel vulnerable and uncertain at the moment? How do you respond to that vulnerability?
As I reflected on this over the last few days I realized that God too is vulnerable. Our Creator always comes to us in ways that open the possibility of attack, abuse, and woundedness. In fact that is very much the story of God revealed in Jesus Christ. An unexpected Messiah revealing an unexpected and vulnerable God.
My images of God as a rich and powerful leader have been shaken over the last few years by these images of the One who comes to us in powerlessness and vulnerability – not as a ruler but as a servant, not as an authoritarian commander but as a gentle leader, a companion and guide who is particularly concerned about the other vulnerable ones in our midst and who brings change not from the centres of power but from the margins where other vulnerable beings dwell.
It is hard for us to understand a powerful God who comes in such vulnerability, yet in this God we place our hope. This is the God spoken of in Isaiah 11 that Lilly Lewin quoted in Freerange Friday last week. This is the God whose presence will one day fill our world bringing renewal and transformation.
As I wait during this season of Advent, I wait for this vulnerable God and I feel hope well up within me. I believe that the imagery of Isaiah 11 she quotes will one day be fulfilled, probably not in the ways we expect. Probably with some future acts of vulnerability. What I am reminded of today is that I need to have my eyes open to signs of the coming of this vulnerable God who always comes in unexpected ways.
What signs of God’s presence give you hope for the future?
NOTE: The image used in today’s post is by Scott Erickson His book Prayer has been one of my favorite books this year. It contains many images like the one above that are ideal for contemplation. I chose this image because it too speaks of vulnerability – of Eve and of Mary.
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