"Not only did Simeon see the Kingdom, but he also took it into his arms and held it. I imagine Simeon holding that baby like I would hold one, cuddling it up close to my neck, kissing its forehead, and believing that I’d never seen such a beautiful baby. I wasn’t holding a soft cuddly baby, though. I was living in a city with sweltering heat, fighting a parasite, and attempting to ignore the dirt, when I hear a whisper to seek the Kingdom and I wonder how to do it. How does a white woman like me look past the leers of men who grab me on the street in order to find the Kingdom? How does a privileged white woman like myself forget her affluence long enough to sit on a Calcutta sidewalk with a street woman and find the Kingdom? How does an educated privileged white woman like me lose all she thinks she knows in order to hold the hand of an elderly demented abandoned woman in order to find the Kingdom?... I guess I thought the Kingdom would shine more brightly, smell better, and be less crowded. In the Kingdom I thought people wouldn’t let their children sleep on the street because they owned a mansion just over the hilltop... I did not find and hold the Kingdom by fulfilling a Christian duty. I found and held and belonged to the Kingdom by becoming a part of it, by entering into it. Simeon didn’t only hold and cuddle a promised Messiah, the Kingdom of God. He held the One who became just like us. That One lost His home, His father, His safety until He was nothing but a man."
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Seeking the Kingdom in Calcutta
I enjoyed reading this Advent Reflection from April Folkertsma at The Other Journal as she reflected on her work on the streets of Calcutta.