Reflection #13: Divine Proximity

Reading: Luke 13

When I first saw Jesus three shops down from my office, he was just another victim of our capatalist driven society. I didn’t know his story, but by looking at him it wasn’t hard to guess.

The city is filled with Jesus and his whānau, people who have been abandoned in the pursuit of capatilism and economic growth.

Eventually, I started to say hi as I walked past, that turned to comments on the weather, and than the other day I stopped to ask his name. I was of course horrified that I hadn’t recognized him instantly. As I’ve said already, he was (of course) Jesus.

Jesus has been living in one of the most dangerous, inhumane, and generally unfit, emergency accomodation complexes which exist in Tamaki. He shared with me a bit of what that was like, and honoured me with a glimpse of his story. I offered him some support to get housing, but he declined. Jesus would stay with his whānau. Where else would he be, but with the ones society names the lowest and least.

Jesus still sits three shops down, and I see him and say hi most days. I wish there was more I could do for him, but through this small interaction, Jesus reminded me of something.

He reminded me that the Kingdom comes, not through the big, grand, heroic actions of the powerful and strong, but in the small, tentative, yet courageous actions of those who seek to be faithful. In some things we are powerless to make the massive cultural and societal change we might wish to see, but we can acknowledge each other’s humanity. We can stop, pause, and see one another. And in these moments, even just for a moment, we can taste the Kingdom.

I am reminded to avoid being tempted by trying to accomplish the big, great, and grand, for the Kingdom comes through the small, the mundane, the seemingly insignificant.

Jesus touched a woman, and she was healed. Jesus moved into her space, and she was liberated. Jesus cared enough to bear witness to her suffering, and she was freed.

These were not big things, they were small, insignificant, mundane acts, yet they were transformative.

We often underestimate the power of proximity, of moving towards another human being, of opening our eyes and our hearts to see them, of choosing to touch, and in turn, be touched by them.

They may seem small things, but it is through such things that Liberation and Healing is made possible.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the big challenges facing our world, when you do, remember that the world is transformed through a thousand small acts of Love.

When we move towards those who suffer, when we reach out to touch those who are oppressed, we move in and with the Divine.

It is these acts of Divine proximity which bring healing and liberation.

And with them, the Divine Dream begins.

A.J. Hendry

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