“Foxes have their dens and the birds in the air have their nests. But the son of man has nowhere he can lay his head.” Matthew 8:20
“Black Friday” has come and gone, but the staggering figures remain. Americans spent a whopping $11.4 billion, averaging $400 per consumer- the most ever spent on a single day, according to an NPR report. The pictures corroborate this: 9,000 people lined up outside Macy’s in Herald Square, New York to be the first to get in on the deals.
And here Jesus offers a strikingly discordant reality. Which is really a claim on the lives of those who would follow Him. One that is truly peculiar. Peculiar for a peculiar people.
If even foxes and birds have their homes, Jesus is as one even poorer- or freer- than they. He- “the son of man”- has “no place to lay his head.” A bit weird and a bit cryptic, don’t you think?
Because whereas we, or a great number of us, as the statistics would suggest, enrich ourselves with an extravagance of things, Jesus travels lightly, making his home along the way with the poor and the forgotten of our world. While we, many of us, captivate ourselves with more and more stuff, Jesus invites us to leave our captivity for a free stretch of highway, our windswept hair and the thrill of the ride keeping us alive more than any new set of shoes or the latest piece of technology will.
The adventure is full of pain and glory, Jesus seems to be saying. But when we join Him we add our names to an undercover party of “co-conspirators” with an important job to do. A job that involves being “on the move” in the world around us. We are “peripatetic” insofar as we make ourselves available to God’s mission of healing and restoration rather than let ourselves be weighed down by our possessions. We are “refugees” to the degree that we find ourselves out of place in a mall at midnight the day after Thanksgiving, camping out to shop as if our lives depended on it, and instead go where Jesus roams. To the places where Jesus finds welcome. Among the poor, the sick, the afflicted and those who wish to “see.” In a smelly stable just outside the outskirts of town on the margins of power.
When we go to those places we will hear God’s voice. We will hear God speaking to us. A bit like the tender sounds of a small baby nursing at his mother’s breast. It is even possible that then we will drop our bags- all of those material things that weigh us down and have told us who we are- and worship God.
To learn more about how you can join the Advent Conspiracy, go to www.adventconspiracy.org.