otherwise

“Rousseau said men are born free, yet everywhere they are in chains. Since the time of the Hebrew prophets it has been the role of the outsider to loosen these chains, or lengthen them, if only by bringing the rumor of a life lived otherwise.”
–Marilynne Robinson, “When I Was a Child”

I thrilled, reading those words for the first time last week. Reverberating around them, in my mind, were these other words:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor,
to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed.”
–Luke 4:18

What is that good news for the poor? Is it not news of a life lived otherwise? A rich life, voluntarily impoverished to make the poor rich. A sinless life, voluntarily made sin that others might be righteous. A large, glorious, divine life, voluntarily made small, humble, human, that humans might partake of the glory.

Ah, and therein is the hope, the goodness of the news: by means of this life, our poor lives may be lived otherwise as well.

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