“At this festive season of the year,… it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time.”
I called this blog “crediting marvels” because I want to take note of things that capture my attention and make me lean into wonder. This is probably the biggest one to me. Jesus. Jesus… made this severe difference in the world.
The essential idea is that a construction worker from some Podunk corner of an occupied country said that every individual is significant. He said the only way to convince them of that is to love them… each of them… one at a time. The task he laid out for his apprentices was to deliver this message to the people they met. The earliest way of referring to this news was that it was a “well-message.” We turned that into “good news” and “God’s spell” and “Gospel,” but the main concept within the word was that this brought wellness to people who didn’t have it or expect it.
Everything about the well-message fit. It was first given by a baby whose family was impoverished, day laborers. They lived, at least for a while, as refugees and almost always as social outcasts. There was nothing about this one that would have attracted people. Referred to throughout his life as a bastard, he had no standing in the community. The only thing he had was a truth people couldn’t deny. And he brought it as just that, a plain truth to everyone who paid attention. It came down to “this other one has the same worth as me and so I should treat them the way I’d like to be treated.” It was just truth that was newly said as an active expression.
The best description his closest friends had for him was “God.” The way he lived was so core to life that they couldn’t imagine anyone being able to speak wellness better than one who spoke creation into being. It brought life. So they began repeating the words and actions and discovered that it continued to bring life.
Slaves, women, children… all those who were daily and individually taught they had the same value as dirt, were told the “well-message.” And some who had power but had also discovered that its self-focused use demeaned something deep within them were drawn to it. They ached to do what they knew they always should do with power. This message made them well also. Life became life.
So, all these people began to wonder and to make different choices. They freed slaves. They took care of special needs children or female children or sick children. They stopped killing children. They began to take care of others… any others. They lived into a different expression of marriage. They brought education and even the latest technology to those who would never otherwise receive it. They brought rights to those who never knew them. It wasn’t done as law first. At first, it was simply how they chose to live and to speak.
They made this slight provision for the poor… who suffer greatly.
All the other pieces, the miracles, the resurrection, the promise of returning and the culmination of the age… all of it became proof of the well-message, but from the beginning they weren’t the point (Mark 1:38). They just proved this truth as more deeply true than anything else. This is why it is the biggest marvel to me. It altered me. So, I believe it all… all the Jesus stuff.