I don't know why exactly, but it's been it'sin my head a lot in the last while. Maybe because I am moving to the richest country I have ever seen. Maybe it's because twice this week friends asked me if having money and comfort is going to wash over me, cop me out, so to speak. I am thinking about what I cannot forget, the thing that has become deep and central in us over the last few years.
That thing is God's heart for the poor, the rejected, the losers, the fringes of society - whatever language you prefer. I am thinking a lot about attention paid to "spiritual disciplines", as I am feeling a need to increase things like prayer and contemplation in my life; but I am also being reminded of the incredible importance of the poor as a spiritual discipline. Friendship with the poor is vital to my spiritual health. There are kingdom things that I cannot learn apart from friendship with those on the fringes. I think it is quite similar to the role of working out (physically) in my life. Especially when I started, I despised the practice of waking up at six am on a dark and cold Winnipeg morning, dragging my butt down to the gym, and running until my lungs burn. Same thing with spiritual disciplines. They're not something you especially want to do; they are disciplines. But without my trips to the gym, I become unhealthy and fat (maybe I should say, "even fatter"). Without the poor in my life, messing up my neat and tidy times and spaces, teaching me humility, and kindness, and perserverance, my spirit is flabby.
I think I need the poor to be central in my life because they are the loudest prophetic declaration I know of that says that God's values are contrary to ours. The people who have little worth by our value systems, the people that the world says are not people who you should strive to be friends with, are the ones who Christ was deliberate about being with. We are trained to run from any kind of pain, suffering, or "ugliness". Christ chose to be there, in the low places.
God don't let me forget to be deliberate about joining him there.