The triumph of humility

Although it’s been a while since I considered myself Roman Catholic, some things about that faith, both good, and not so good, linger. One of the good things is the liturgical calendar, with its varied events, great, and small, observed by the Christian church.

Yesterday, February 2nd was the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, or, in the Anglican tradition, Candlemas. It’s not the sort of thing you might find mentioned in a Baptist church; we’re not big on the liturgical calendar, you might say. But there is a mighty lesson in the Presentation, and the one-line summary might be: the triumph of humility.

This is yet another of those “stumbling blocks” for those who expect, nay, demand, that their kings be mighty in appearance. That their messiah be clothed in the finest robes, head annointed with the most expensive oils, live in the most lavish palaces, and be served by legions of adoring disciples.

The reality is, of course, just the opposite. Jesus of Nazareth, fully God, chose to be born in the most humble of circumstances, to parents he knew would, in humility, nurture him as an infant. Not a lot of finery, just the poverty of a Jewish family living under brutal Roman occupation.

This is the lesson, for any Christians who believe that it is pomp and circumstance, together with the finest things that money can buy on this earth, that would mark our spiritual ruler. To God go all glory, because, in the person of Jesus, He knew us in our fallen, poorest form.

A contradiction? Yes. And, a mystery. But it should ever remind us, whenever we start to believe that we’ve got all the answers, or that we, somehow, rule the world with our earthly powers. We don’t. He does.

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