And when the days of their purification according to the law of Moses were fulfilled, they brought him up to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord),and to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. *Luke 2:22 - 24
As I meditated on this passage recently I was struck with the most amazing thought... God entrusted His Son, and with Him, His plan and purpose for mankind, into the hands of a 14 or 15 year old mother and her husband!
God had confidence in them that they would be faithful, true and obedient to all that was required to raise that child in the fear and admonition of the Lord and prepare Him for His calling as Savior of the world.
Stunningly, God was saying to Mary and Joseph, as He has to all His servants throughout the ages, "I believe in you. I have confidence that you will respond to My love for you, and in obedience to My will, move My plan and purpose forward."
And that confidence was not misplaced!
This speaks to the profound depth of purpose God had for man in creation. We were not created as un-stringed puppets, helpless to do anything but what the puppet master intends. We were not created to be mindless singers of empty praise. Or interested, though passive, observers of a cosmic stage play.
Incredibly God created us to work right alongside Him in His eternal purpose.
He created us free and independent beings in His own image and likeness. And He created us with the capacity to respond to Him in love and the awe and wonder that comes from the invitation to be active participants with the creator of the universe in the 'stewardship of the ages."
He has chosen to trust us, frail and faltering as we may be, with moving that purpose forward into eternity. Not angels, not principalities, not celestial powers...us!
This is what I believe St. Irenaeus’s meant when he said, “The glory of God is man fully alive.”
Man fully alive is man fully engaged.
What dignity. What privilege. What unfathomable trust!
This was His intention when He created Adam out of the dust of the earth and when He redeemed us through the sacrifice of His Son.
This is the purpose of the "new creation".
This is reality of 'Christ in me."
This is the wonder of "now if we are children, then we are heirs -- heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ..." (Rms 8:17)
This is obedience to the full intention for our creation.
This is true worship.
And so He calls us to engage, participate, and co-labor with all of our heart and mind and being. Our prayers cease to be useless expressions of what we think God intends to do regardless, and become the collaborative conversation between those passionately involved together in a cosmic endeavor. Don't believe it? Think of the times in the Old Testament where it recounts God having a change of heart or mind as a result of the intercession of His servants. (Abram and Lot for example.)
This does not imply there is fault or deficiency in God's plan and purpose. Rather it speaks to the fact that God's plan was designed with the inexplicable flexibility to include our contribution. He designed it that way because He designed us, not to be passive observers, but to be essential, lively contributors to His plan and purpose!
And so every moment of our day becomes the opportunity to be those lively contributors, working together with God to impact eternity. And in each of those moments He would reassure us, "I believe in you..."