Contemplating Jesus

THE VULNERABLE ONE

Posted on by Lucinda M. Vardey

Lorenzo Costa (1460-1535)

We learn from the book of Genesis  that Adam and Eve lived day to day in the Garden of Eden unclothed.  They were naked, exposed and present to each other without pretence in the paradise that God created.  It wasn’t until they both ate the apple from the forbidden tree that they became afraid and covered themselves, which God recognized as a signal of their shame.  And so the full trust established with God – and God with them – was broken.  They lost their childlike innocence and the simple joys of living in the company of love and beauty, they lost their experience of the delicate and the vulnerable; they lost God as God had been to them.

The simple, humble birth of Emmanuel (God with us) was a sign that the fallen are not eternally forsaken.  God’s son was given to the world as a human being, to break through to our hearts, to teach of God’s love, mercy and healing.  He taught from the beginning as a vulnerable, naked infant clothed in simple strands of cloth lying on straw among animals and shepherds.

As he grew, obedient first to his earthly parents and always to his Heavenly Father, he began his restoration: to bring his people back into God’s family.    His public ministry continued this restoration: restoring wisdom to those who had the ears to hear, restoring community to those who had been sick and outcast, restoring unity to those separated and segregated by culture and tradition.  He walked the vulnerable way to exemplify the ways of God in restoring trust and faith.  He worked miracles to show the goodness and kindness of God as the provider of all material and spiritual needs.

Jesus continually uncovered what was hidden, unspoken and shameful.  He showed that power was aligned with love and simplicity, richness with freedom from possessions, joy and hope in the impossible found possible, a new life given from patience and persistence.  By following him, Eden’s narrow gates were again open to entry.

Naked and exposed, Jesus was born in a stable and hung at his death on a cross.  In both cases his vulnerability was to teach that the way is not easy, the truth is often painful but the light in and through it is beyond measure.

O Come let us adore Him!

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