Dr Kate Harrison Brennan launches our Advent series with a reflection on Christ interrupting our world in a beautiful, political and dramatic way.
Andy Abey is a theological student, young adults student minister at Barney's in Sydney, and a member of Common Grace's domestic and family violence justice team.
Today's reading is Micah 5:2-5
It was the middle of the day in Bethlehem city, and I was about to enter the Church of the Nativity. Famous for not only being one of the oldest churches in the world, it is also famous for its extremely small entrance. At just over a metre tall, the doorway forces every worshipper to bow down in order to enter.
My tour guide pushed gently on my shoulder, urging me into the church. Conscious of the ground on which we stood, he lowered his voice to a murmur and whispered in my ear: “they call this The Door of Humility”
Seeing only the darkness that lay ahead, I bowed my head, and entered.
• • • •
In the years since I was in Bethlehem, I’ve thought many times about that door. I’ve thought about how every person is confronted with it, unable to avoid lowering their backs and their eyes. I’ve thought about how it was impossible to go through gracefully, forcing all those who would enter to abandon their pride to accommodate its modest frame. And I’ve thought about how perfectly it captures the unexpected beauty of Jesus, the Shepherd-King.
Born, not from the greatest clan, but the smallest. Ruling, not with a sword, but with a shepherd’s crook. Great, not only in his ability to bring peace, but to be the very peace his people crave.
Both defying expectations, and superseding them, King Jesus would not only be born in humble circumstances, but would rule in glorious humility.
I’ve clung to the humility of the King in all the moments when women have courageously stepped forward and spoken out about their experiences of abuse. When I’ve thought about how they’ve been hurt by others, and when I’ve wept in lament. It’s in those moments that I’ve clung to the healing that Jesus offers, and I’ve wept in thankfulness.
I’ve clung to the humility of the King in all the moments when perpetrators have been called to account for their actions. When I’ve thought about how men have hurt and taken, rather than served and given. It’s in those moments that I’ve thought about how different a man Jesus is, who only gives, and never steals.
I’ve clung to the humility of the King in all the moments when I’ve been tempted to think that domestic and family violence is too big a problem to solve. When I’ve thought about the sheer number of factors involved, and people in need. And it’s in those moments that I’ve remembered that the King is on the throne, and his people will live securely.
In all these moments I’ve clung to Jesus and I’ve prayed. I’ve prayed that my humble King would make me humble too. I’ve prayed that each and every day, I would choose the rule of King Jesus, The Door of Humility. I’ve prayed that each and everyday I would choose to enter, and find perfect peace.
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Daily Reading Micah 5:2-5a
The Ruler from Bethlehem
2 But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah,
who are one of the little clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to rule in Israel,
whose origin is from of old,
from ancient days.
3 Therefore he shall give them up until the time
when she who is in labor has brought forth;
then the rest of his kindred shall return
to the people of Israel.
4 And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great
to the ends of the earth;
5 and he shall be the one of peace.
If the Assyrians come into our land
and tread upon our soil,
we will raise against them seven shepherds
and eight installed as rulers.