David Brooks' January 20, 2014 New York Times op-ed column The Art of Presence caught my eye the other day. It's definitely worth a read. As someone who often helps people and families through difficult times, his reflections resonated with me. I am constantly ecouraging my congregation to pursue an incarnational rather than an attractional style of ministry. In other words, be there rather than waiting for or trying to get someone to come to you.
The temptation is to distance yourself, assuming that they need space or time or that there's really nothing you can say or do. It turns out that showing up makes a powerful statement in itself, even if you have little to say. Don't wait. Just go. Be there.
That's what Jesus did. He shows up in our world. Now while He comes with a message and miracles, His presence also speaks volumes. We could never go to Him. Not when we are sinners and He is holy. But He can come to us. He still does. He comes and speaks to us in His Word. He still comes with gifts of grace in the sacraments. And that communicates a powerful message of love.