Why the Pope moves me (and a whole lot of other people).
"Talk isn't just cheap anymore, now it's insulting." - Kevin Jackson The Pope lives out what He believes. You can tell by his choices. Even with tremendous pressure he chooses to do things a different way. A holy way. The way he chooses to live his everyday life, private and public, points to something. It tells a story of what he values. It suggests that there is something more important than simply conforming to the standards of the world, or the vatican.
His life points to Jesus.
And the way He chooses to live has an effect on the people watching. His choices become like a song that moves through people. It's a familiar tune that resonates in their deepest selves. When they see him driving a normal car with the windows down, and passing up some dignitaries for the homeless, stoping the motorcar in a parade to give a blessing to a little girl, going out of his way to bless a wheelchair bound man with Cerebral Palsy and driving himself to his own little humble abode instead of a palace - it fills them with hope that maybe it is possible for all of us to live out what we believe.
The story Pope Francis is telling through his broken english and well lived life is hands down the best story every told - it's the story of people who can't be bought or bullied or broken. It's the story of a people who live for eternity and by simply doing that well their very lives challenge and change things right now. Including us.
John Boehner, the House Speaker of the US Congress resigned. He resigned after he had a moment with the Pope alone. He explained with great emotion that he was so humbled by the Pope something shifted inside of him. When they had a moment together the Pope asked John to pray for him, "Who am I to pray for the Pope?" John asked this to a reported with tears in his eyes. He said it was a crystalizing moment. I like that.
That one moment with the Pope brought into focus the things that matter. See Joel explained further that what he did right now didn't seem to matter. It was a bunch of folks power pushing each other around - who is the biggest bully in town? His political career had amounted to something more like a pissing contest - he had dreamt of better things. When he met the Pope that deep desire to live for something better, something deeper came into focus. The story the Pope told - even through his own humility, is a story that resonated in the deepest parts of his life and called him to live for something else... something that matters.
This public witness of a man who lives for things that matter moves me too. It calls to me on the inside, in the deep. It compels me to follow His example - to be more like Jesus. To look past the outer shell of peoples bodies and world constructs and into their need to be fully alive. It reminds me that the upside down world of the Kingdom is still shaking things and that Jesus is the ultimate authority - making Presidents and Kings look small and ordinary, leaving skeptics and journalists baffled and making the homeless feel valued and dignified. It challenges me to examine my own life - do my choices reflect the Kingdom? Does my life challenge the 'norm' of the world's mold?
When I think about it, I realize that the Pope moves me because Jesus moves me. The witness is the same Spirit, playing a beautifully familiar tune to me like a song I can't get out of my head. The song of God's Kingdom come. The Pope moves me to sing the song out loud.