Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Weakness is not comfortable. We would much rather talk of God's power than the weakness of Jesus described in Philippians 2:5-7:
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death--
even death on a cross.
Richard Rohr, in The Naked Now, says that we idealize willfulness and will power rather than willingness and weakness. Even in this season of Lent, our decisions to give up something can be an exercise in will power rather than a willingness to recognize our vulnerability to idolatry.
We fight vulnerability by being in control. It is why some have such a hard time moving from believer to disciple. Vulnerability can only be willingly accepted by faith. At the point where I willingly allow myself to be vulnerable, I have given up control of the outcome.
Jesus modeled vulnerability by his willingness to die on the cross. He was vulnerable because he loved and trusted God. God willingly allowed this to happen because God loves us. God became vulnerable for our sakes.
Jesus taught vulnerability. In Matthew 10:5-10, Jesus sent the disciples out without any money, extra clothes or shoes or even a walking stick. They were totally vulnerable and dependent--with no protection from attack, no way to buy food and no certainty of a place to spend the night. They had to depend on the generosity of others and the provision of God. We call this irrational, but it is really grace-full living. It is faith like that of a child, open, vulnerable, trusting, loving.
This vulnerability is driven by love. The disciples went out because they loved Jesus. Love at its best makes us vulnerable. Love is about letting go of control of the one we love, which means opening oneself to the possibility that the one loved will leave. It is the way God loves us. We are given the freedom to reject God's love for us, to live willfully instead of sacrificially, rationally instead of faithfully.
It takes more courage to be vulnerable than strong. I pray I will have such courage. Discipleship requires it.