Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Humble Exalted

Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. Matthew 23:12

It was a stormy night and the wind has been whipping dead leaves around, slapping wet detritus everywhere, pasting gloom about the neighborhood. The dog wouldn't even go out this morning. She just looked at me and looked at the open door and slunk away. It is a stormy day, a scene ripe for scary movies, dark back alleys and all things humble, grimy and hidden. A day when sensible people of leisure pull the covers up and go back to sleep. But who then is really a sensible person of leisure? All of us have to face the day at some point.

When I was in college I lived in Baltimore and spent a great deal of time photographing back alleys and the hidden parts of this gritty American City. In the 70's, Baltimore was very rough around the edges and completely overlooked. The waterfront was dirty and dangerous, the downtown completely down at the heels. Thiry plus years later it has become a destination, a rough diamond, shined and polished now for public consumption. But in those days, she was just her rough, foul-mouthed humble self. A place to be real.

Jesus invites us, as we walk these Advent days -the dark and stormy ones as well as the bright, glittering days- to remember that it is the humble places where God abides. It is among the simple, humble people that God comes to dwell. God is found in our back alleys and not in our star-studded gala evenings. Gos comes in the broken and contrite places and promises to dwell with us, incarnate, real and alive in our knowing.

Today, I want to walk this day, not overlooking the humble or the messy, but looking closer to find God. I want to see God in my most broken down and humble back alleys. May we all find God today in the midst of our messy humanity - right where God has promised to be.

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