Monday, December 16, 2013

On Gentleness (Homily 59)

We're all labeled.
"...Thy gentleness has made me great." Ps. 18:35b

To speak of God's gentleness is to speak of His understanding. He knows us. He knows how small and frail we are, how limited and imperfect in our knowledge and abilities. He knows our propensity to fear, and He knows our frustrated desire to be better than what we are. We cannot fool Him. Our weakness is like an open book before Him, like an open wound, and He sees us for the bumbling fools that we are, sees our strutting and posturing for the facades that they are. He sees. He knows. He understands, and on the basis of that understanding He pities us. Not as our betters "pity" us, with a smirk hiding a sneer, but as a father would his children (Ps. 103:13-14): with a smile, and a loving, helping, outstretched hand.

God handles with care.
It is the gentleness of God that makes us great. It is by His mercies that we are not consumed. Where is boasting? It is removed. Where is pride? It has been swallowed up in love. What can we say to these things, for who is a god like this? Many gods have understood who we are and what we're made of, but they have not responded with gentleness, nor with pity, save the "pity" of the smirk-painted sneer. Our God never smirks or sneers. He forgives. He heals. He upholds by His right hand. He reaches out to lift up, to redeem our souls out of hell, to show us the paths of life (Ps. 16:10-11). We have deserved none of this, earned none of this. How could we? We are weak and frail, but God responds to our weakness with gentleness, breathing boundless grace and mercy through our lifelessness like a soft breeze sends dead leaves dancing across the ground. And because we are always weak, God is always gracious. Therefore, we only have grounds for joy, for we are caught up in a whirl of gentleness, of God's gentleness making us greater than we ever were before. Amen.

-Jon Vowell (c) 2013

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