[4 November 2007; a busy maternity hospital that serves some of the poorest women in India]
I held a perfect little boy the other day, newborn and beautiful. But he didn't have breath. During the birth we knew he was expected to be dead and we spoke as many words of life as we could.
He arrived silently and limp. His mother cried when we put him on her chest and she touched his perfect face and looked away. I cried too.
Later, in the newborn room, I weighed him and held him in my arms, listening to his silence.
I wanted to yell and shake him, or let loose a piercing wail to defy the silence of his perfect body. I had never seen a stillborn baby look so perfect, so capable of being alive and crying and growing and loving.
But I just held him and stared and some tears escaped and the world continued to spin.
If Jesus were in the room I would have shouted at him--if you're the son of God, then raise this baby from the dead. And go into the labour room and take away the pain of all those women. And while
you're at it you might as well turn some rocks into bread or rice because there's alot of hungry people outside.
Jesus has heard those accusations before. We want these acts of power, we want him to violently overthrow the Roman soldiers or instantly change a terrible situation. We want him to make everything better.
And he will. But he chooses a different way than we would. He sits in a temple in Nazareth, he stands holding a dead infant in India and says: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has annointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind and to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour.
And there is much I do not understand. Every so often he does raise a little one from the dead, and I feel the first breaths of ressurection in my own heart and now and then. But Jesus chooses the way of suffering love, of feeding people with a child's lunch, saving an adulterous woman from being stoned, sitting with a Samaritan woman at a well in the heat of the day. Maybe he does some healthcare teachings in a slum and makes some children laugh.
We want him to kill the Roman soldiers. He disarms us with stories and tells us to take up our cross. And somehow this is the way of the infinitely vulnerable IAM God and the patient salvation of the world.