Finding Jesus … in Our Poverty
Do you look for Jesus in Church?
Do you look for Jesus in the Word?
In your quiet times?
We’ve all looked for Jesus in these places. And we’ve found Him there, once or twice. And we (I) have thought, “Jesus dwells in the Word … so I will wait here until He comes back to show Himself to me again.” And I wait. And we wait.
Martin Buber has said that community is the place of theophany, so we go to church and except that “where two or three are gather” there He is. And I wait. And we wait to find him in this place.
Quiet times alone in prayer, worship and the Bible are the place where our personal relationship with Jesus is built. And it’s true … to an extent. He speaks to us and then silence. Silence. And we wait.
Where is Jesus? Why is it that He’s so silent, so often, despite the fact that we are genuinely seeking His presence? Why does He so often remain so distant while our faith so languishes in the desert?
God is rarely present in a place, or a set aside time. But, “He dwells with the broken and the contrite.”
Jesus says, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
But, it is not us giving to the have not’s. It’s not those of us with a spiritually induced Messiah complex swooping in to help the broken. No, those aren’t the one’s meeting Jesus either.
Jean Vanier, a former naval officer, former professor who received his Ph.D. in moral philosophy in Paris, and eventual founder of “L’Arche”, (a movement of communities that seeks to create a family environment for those who’ve been rejected because of their mental disability), has this to say:
“Jesus came to bring the good news to the poor, not to those who serve the poor! I think we can only truly experience the presence of God, meet Jesus, received the good news, in and through our own poverty, because the kingdom of God belongs to the poor, the poor in spirit, the poor who are crying out for love … God is present in the poverty and wounds of their heart.”
So that the one “place” we might always find God is in brokenness. I’ve seen people who have tried to “break themselves” so as to spur the presence of God in their lives. And that’s not what I’m talking about here.
Buber was right. Jesus was right. Theophany is in the community, AND he dwells with the broken! But it’s not always in individual brokenness, but in the broken community.
God calls himself the “Paraclete” which means “the one who answers the cry.”
We will find Jesus at the funeral.
We will find Jesus around the death bed.
We will find Jesus in the prisons.
In the hurting families.
With the fatherless. With the widow.
And we will find Him, not as outsiders of the broken community, but as ones who find ourselves apart of it.
And I think we will soon realize that He himself is not dwelling with the broken and the contrite as just the “Paraclete”, but because He too is most like … most comfortable with the broken. It’s not that he’s there just because he’s saving us … it’s that He’s with the broken because He’s most like us.
I hope we all find that Jesus dwells with the broken communities.