Pastor Sean Palmer points us toward the Advent season with an important message on Mary’s scandalous pregnancy and the decisions that we (like Joseph) have to make in considering how to use our power and privilege. Will we choose to “break up” and further divide, or instead, the far more difficult road of participating in the ways that God’s Kingdom is “breaking in”?
Matthew 1: 18-24
"One of the greatest ironies of the history of Christianity is that its leaders constantly gave in to the temptation of power — political power, military power, economic power, or moral and spiritual power — even though they continued to speak in the name of Jesus, who didn’t cling to his divine power, but emptied himself and became as we are.
The temptation to consider power a useful instrument of the proclamation of the Gospel is the greatest of all. We keep hearing from others, as well as saying to ourselves, that having power, provided it is used in the service of God and your fellow human beings, is a good thing.
With this rationalization, crusades took place, inquisitions were organized, Indians were enslaved, positions of great influence were desired, episcopal palaces, splendid cathedrals, and opulent seminaries were built, and much moral manipulation of conscience was engaged in.
Every time we see a major crisis in the history of the Church, such as the great schism of the tenth century, the reformation of the sixteenth century, or the immense secularization of the twentieth century, we always see that a major cause of rupture is the power exercised by those who claim to be followers of the poor and powerless Jesus…
What makes the temptation of power so seemingly irresistible? Maybe it is that power offers an easy substitutes for the hard task of love. It seems easier to be God than to love God, easier to control people than to love people, easier to own life than to love life.”
Reflection & Practice
Take some time this week to meditate, to prayerfully examine, the power that you wield and how you are prone to wield it. All of us carry many forms of innate privilege due to a broad array of statuses (socioeconomic, relational, gender, race, etc..), including the country in which we live. As you prepare for Advent, and our remembrance of Christ’s coming, how will you choose to use your power in ways that contribute towards God’s Kingdom being revealed and celebrated?
Dust We Are And Shall Return
Psalm 34 (Taste And See)
Fearfully And Wonderfully Made