"God wants to be won by humanity...God wants to come to the world through men and women."
INTO HUMAN HANDS. “Once they told Rabbi Pinhas of the great misery among the needy. He listened, sunk in grief. Then he raised his head. ‘Let us draw God into the world,’ he cried, ‘and all need will be quenched.’ God’s grace consists precisely in this, that he wants to let himself be won by humanity, that he places himself, so to speak, into human hands. God wants to come to his world, but he wants to come to it through men and women. This is the mystery of our existence, the superhuman chance of humankind.” – in The Way of Man.
WE ARE CHRIST’S HANDS. In regard to responding to human misery, a Christian saint puts Buber’s point succinctly: “Christ has no body now but yours, no hand on earth but yours, yours are the eyes through which he looks with compassion on the world.”
KEEP PERSPECTIVE. I think most of us accept these two statements without morphing them into either works righteousness or deification of human endeavor. We are not God; and no action, however compassionate, will ever erase one sin or bring about anyone’s salvation. Our caring actions are a response to God’s first and primary actions. Our efforts to relieve misery are, at best, limited in wisdom and incomplete in scope.
THE VISION TRANSFORMS. Still, if we have had an authentic encounter with God, we will act. The vision transforms (Isaiah 6). Worship engages us and lays claims upon us. Authentic worship draws us into life’s fray with specific and hopeful actions in the face over overwhelming circumstances and apparently impossible odds.
WORSHIP LEADS TO ACTION. We draw God into the world by acting in a manner that reflects what we have experienced in worship of God, in response to God’s invitation: “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” Worship that does not lead to transformative, sustained, sacrificial and prophetic witness and compassionate action is not authentic.
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