Martin Buber observed that "when I believe the totality of my nature enters into the process because the relationship of faith is a relationship of my entire being." Rainier Maria Rilke concurs in his Book of Hours: Love Poems to God: "When I go toward you, it is with my whole life."
In the first readings of the year, God again invites each of uswith our whole selvesto the covenant, issued now in the birth of Christ. The readings are sharply focused on the nature of discipleship and what it means to say yes to this unusual Messiah, whose mission is embodied, not in material wealth or power, but in liberating those excluded from the riches of this world. Some of the most moving texts in the Old and New Testaments beautifully illustrate God's loving pursuit of God's people and desire to be in relationship with them. The readings reassure those of us who would hesitate that our caution is not new. From the prophets to the disciples, God has encountered reluctance and outright refusal from those whose assistance he seeks in building the kingdom. We can see from the lives of Isaiah and Peter, Jeremiah and Paul, that there is truly no need to fear. In this New Year, we can turn to God anew, to live Jesus' good news with our whole lives.
Michaela Bruzzese, formerly program associate with Call to Renewal, is a free-lance writer living in Chile.
Fire and Water
Isaiah 43:1-7, Psalm 29, Acts 8:14-17, Luke 3:15-17, 21-22