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Book of the Month: Schola Caritatis: Learning the Rhythms of God's Amazing Love

  Starting a new feature for the next several months called Book of the Month.  I will present one of my books and tell you a little of the ...

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

christmas in july

Okay, so I know it’s not July yet, but close enough.  I also know that the whole idea of new birth is gaining a ton of life in me these days.  Mostly because I feel like it’s what God is inviting me to―a quality and depth of life that I have not yet known.  In fact, it’s what he’s inviting all of us to.  It’s the way that he’s doing it that’s surprising, although it should not be.  The way to this new life is through my weakness, frailty, and vulnerability.  It’s coming through embracing my humanity.  It’s coming, as Sue Monk Kidd so beautifully writes, through the dung and the straw:

     “In the passage of emergence, as birthing begins, the soul becomes a nativity.  The whole Bethlehem pageant starts up inside us.  An unprecedented new star shines in our darkness―a new illumination and awareness.  God sends Wisdom to visit us, bearing gifts.  The shepherding qualities inside us are summoned to help tend what’s being born.  The angels sing and a whole new music begins to float in the spheres.  Some new living, breathing dimension of the life of Christ emerges with a tiny cry that says, I am.
     One of the best parts of the whole drama is that it happens in the dung and straw of our life, just as it happened in the dung and straw of Bethlehem. Birthing Christ is an experience of humility. Emerging to newness after the rigors of the cocoon isn’t a spiritual ‘promotion.’ There’s no presentation of a twenty-four-carat halo and a fancy new Christian persona without scuffs. If we’re consumed with holy pride, convinced that we’re spiritually ‘right’ and on a higher plane than others, we haven’t birthed a wider experience of the inner Christ but a new creation of the ego.
     The Christ life doesn’t divorce us from our humanity: it causes us to embrace it. It makes us more human. It humbles us. Genuine transformation always connects us to our essential nature, both sacred and profane. When we go through its passages, we plumb the depths of our humanity. We become intimate with what lies inside—the wild and untamed, the orphaned and abused, the soiled and unredeemed. We hold our falseness in our hands and trace our fingers over the masks we wear, like a blind person feeling the unseen faces of those she wants to know. We stare into the sockets of our pain and glimpse the naked truth of who we are.
     All this we bring with us into the new life. It ushers us into a new humility. Oh, yes, no doubt about it. We birth Christ, on a pile of ordinary straw.” (from When the Heart Waits by Sue Monk Kidd)

Christ wants to be born anew in us, but that new birth is most likely to come in our places of greatest weakness and vulnerability. In the dung and in the straw of our own humanity.  In our flaws and in our frailty, that's where his transforming power shows up best.

Lord Jesus, in this world we are most likely to find you in the dung and the straw.  Help us not to be afraid to look for you there.

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