A Heart for History

Reading stuff like this each Advent helps me connect with the heart of Jesus' people and time."



My heart is broken open – with lament and love – as I contemplate again the pain of Jesus’ day and ours, and of each day in between.  During Advent, I try to ground myself in historical tools which open up reminders of the time and place into which he was born.  Far from being a heady exercise, this practice invites me into a deeper heart connection with his fellow Jews and the sorts of longings that THEY BROUGHT into their discoveries and debates with him.  His birth has changed the world in many ways through his promised Spirit and the 2000+years of a living Body of believers who claim his name.  At the same time, deepening my sense of the human story – and the church story within the human story — requires the confession that we have not “arrived” yet!  It’s startling to discover so many of the same themes in his day as the ones with which we grapple: corruption of religious and civil authority, distrust, enmity, scapegoating, discrimination, inequity etc.  Far from diminishing my faith in Christ’s impact, this reality beckons me into a clearer picture of the kingdom he established and establishes in us today.  Maybe it’s just the institutions of human greed and coercion which long for a more ultimate victory, while the Gospel murmurs in breakthrough moments about peace, stillness, reconciliation…


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