Passion is a kind of waiting – waiting for what other people are going to do. Jesus went to Jerusalem to announce the good news to the people of that city. And Jesus knew that he was going to put a choice before them: Will you be my disciple, or will you be my executioner? There is no middle ground here. Jesus went to Jerusalem to put people in a situation where they had to say yes or no. That is the great drama of Jesus’ passion: he had to wait upon how people were going to respond. How would they come? To betray him or follow him? In a way, his agony is not simply the agony of approaching death. It is also the agony of having to wait. It is the agony of a God who depends on us for how God is going to live out the divine presence among us. It is the agony of the God who, in a very mysterious way, allows us to decide how God will be God. Here we glimpse the mystery of God’s incarnation. God became human so that we could act upon God and God could be the recipient of our responses.
(Henri Nouwen from “A Spirituality of Waiting,” Weavings, January 1987)
This is a brand, new way of glimpsing the Holy: God's depending on us. God's waiting on us. These images are very powerful. They help us begin to understand incarnation. It wasn't that long ago we sang, "O Come, O Come Emmanuel." This Advent hymn that calls for the One who is with us to come. God with us. Here in Henri Nouwen‘s writings, we are invited to think about the idea of God's depending on us. God's waiting. Waiting with us. Waiting for us.
When I was in Sunday school I first learned that I was Jesus’s hands and feet in the world. My actions can bring about representations of God’s presence. My actions call to life God’s YES where there is brokenness, YES to loneliness, YES to reconciliations, YES to hope. We are called to be disciples of Jesus. The One who created and is creating still lives in and through the kindness we offer, the love we give to the world. Our words and work for justice and mercy and peace are ways God's lovingkindness is alive and active in the world.
It would be easy to start to get a big head about this whole idea. God's waiting on us. The truth is, though, it's probably the most humbling charge we will have in our lifetimes. For this to happen, we cannot be passive and complaining on the sidelines. For this to happen, we are to pick our plough and get out to the field.
Take o take me as I am. Summon out what I will be. Set your seal upon my heart and live in me. These words from John Bell ring true for this day. Are true for this hour. We are summoned, you and I to follow where love leads us. We are called, you and I to live in the world that God has called into being. We are asked, you and I to love and to serve. Not because we must, but because we may.