Born in someone else’s outhouse, shared with animals
Buried in a borrowed tomb, dependent on the kindness of strangers
He who had every right and ability
To have more than everything He needed
Chose to depend on others
Chose to have nothing of His own
Chose to model vulnerability
And instruct his disciples in it
“Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt.” *
Not having a car in Cape Town for a couple of years overall has been a serious challenge. Public transport is limited and only available by day. I’ve had to learn to ask for and receive help. It’s eroded some of the negative independence I accumulated living in London, where I was able to get wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted since I was 16. It’s been painful. I’ve squirmed and fought it. Wanted to repay or back away. But I know God has been teaching me to be dependent on Him and interdependent on others. To be vulnerable.
In western society independence is elevated
Revered as supremely important
Seen as a great virtue.
We want to be in a position to do it ourselves
Not to need anything from others
So we won’t be let down or lacking.
But there’s a man who demonstrates a different way
Tells His followers and friends to go out with nothing
Encourages them to depend on community and on God.
To admit we don’t know
Don’t have what we need
To reach the end of ourselves
To recognise we can’t make it happen
Can’t have everything tied up, controlled, neatly resolved.
But as we lay down our security and comfort
Our pride, self-sufficiency and independence
As we wait for Him to reveal himself
He invites us to rely on Him
To rely on our community
To let them in
He invites us into the freedom
Of the ability of ask for help
And the ability to receive it.
Because we will never fully experience
The love of God or the love of those around us
If we don’t sometimes chose that vulnerability.
Thanks to Dave Meldrum, who’s Good Friday reflections service was the starting point for these thoughts.
* Luke 9:3 The Bible, New International Version
All poems and original writing on this blog are Copyright © Hilary Murdoch 2013