Jesus didn’t say, ‘Blessed are those who care for the poor.’ He said, ‘Blessed are we where we are poor, where we are broken.’
Love tilts, with eyes of compassion bent in one direction.
Many expected Jesus to be like them–proud, powerful and particular about the company he kept.
Instead they met an enigma, a maddening puzzle or a refreshing cure, depending on their posture.
Jesus looks different from the gutter than he does from a throne of self-sufficiency.
Unrolling the Isaiah scroll, Jesus read,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19.
Notice who is missing from the list. The rich, the satisfied, the self-made, the visionaries, the pompous moralists who scorn the wretched–all who have no need of a savior, for they have already ‘saved’ themselves.
We all tilt. But do we tilt in the right direction?
There once was a woman known for her gracious hospitality. Her large and comfortable home was thoughtfully designed, with spacious bedrooms and spotless windows framing river and meadow and the cool blue mountains beyond. Along the back porch, (its well-scrubbed boards creaking beneath soft pillow rockers), were her gardens–flowers for the mantlepiece, vegetables waiting to be stirred into succulent stews.
Every morning, noon and as daylight faded, savory feasts were laid out on the gleaming counter. A long table readied itself for hungry guests, while a simmering tea-kettle sighed its welcome.
They came–the wistful , the hopeful, the discouraged, the lonely, the anxious, the joy-filled, the shamed, the guilty, the merciful and those in desperate need of grace–all sat down at the table together. The only thing they had in common was the door through which they entered. The only thing that mattered was that all had found a place.
But some folks lounged across the road, ignoring the wide-open front door. Refusing the woman’s welcome, they booed their contempt for the empty-pocketed who turned up her path. Crouching in the weeds, they ate their rancid meat dinners, certain she’d envy their fare. Later, in darkened bunkers they whispered of crowns and castles. Sleeping on couches of un-earned treasure, they dreamed of having more.
Why Love Must Tilt
A universal law: only the broken can be repaired, only the empty can be filled, only the person who dares to need will walk through the open door.
“Blessed are we where we are poor, where we are broken. It is there that God loves us deeply and pulls us into deeper communion with himself.” ~Henri Nouwen.
Does your heart reflect this heavenly tilt?
In our series, An Alphabet Adagio, we are savoring the story of the Bible, our story, alphabetically. You can subscribe to e-mail at the bottom of this website so you don’t have to miss a letter.
Photography by Melanie Hunt