This is a very familiar story. We've heard it all before. But, is there anything that stood our? Anything that surprised you?
God uses "common" people
There are a couple of things that stand out to me. First, God did not go through the "leadership" to get this done. This is a pattern we see over and over both in Scripture and history. And for some reason we still don't get it. We still think that God must work through those in charge to get things accomplished. But, as we can see in this lesson, a lot of times, those in charge may actually hinder what God wants to do. God worked through the servants to guide others to reconciliation. Each servant spoke God's word to their "masters" or for their "masters." And, on more than one occasion, those in power didn't see the working of God - first the king of Israel and then Naaman himself.
Second, there is participatory reconciliation. That is, God uses the same means to heal the issue as to what caused the issue. Ecological issues, familial concerns, economic problems, etc., usually are not fixed by some great instant miracle. The healing and forgiving and reconciliation takes time. And, God does all of this through people.
We hear this in the stories Jesus tells about the Realm (or Kingdom) of God. Each story - the yeast in the dough, the mustard seed, etc. - show that God's part has been done (the coming of Christ) and now it takes work to make that seed grow or that yeast to spread. It takes people working the land, pruning the tree, watering the plant, protecting is against the extreme elements for it to grow and mature. It takes people kneeding the dough, adding the other ingrediants, preparing the oven, watching the bread so it doesn't burn. All of this is done through the participation of people. God doesn't just snap God's fingers or wiggles God's nose to fix things. God works through people, most of the time, through ordinary "lowly" people, to bring about the reconciliation of all life.
- What relationships need to be healed, individually, as a community of faith, in our neighborhoods, in our nations?
- Do we put too much emphasis on those in power to "fix" these issues - to "heal" these hurts?
- How is God leading us to be the healing agents in bringing in God's Realm?
- How can we be involved in the reconciliation of all things?
- Do we even believe that this is our responsibility; our calling; our vocation?
Valentine's day is on Tuesday. It's usually a time of cards, flowers, candy, and perhaps even jewelry. But the story of St Valentine is more about a Christian person standing up against those in power even to the point of torture and death. He lived Christ's command to "Love each other as I have loved you" (John 15.12; CEB). The story says that he helped all who came to him, whether Christian or not. He saw no difference. He simply loved as Christ loved. He didn't wait for someone else to do it. He didn't look to the leaders of the church for permission. He just did it; he helped everyone. And he did this during a time when it was unlawful to do so. His love for Christ compelled him to love all people; to help all people. Can we do the same? Can we dare to love Christ with our actions and help everyone - even those who don't agree with us? Even those who aren't followers of Christ? Can we stand up to the powers that be - whether government or church - and bring God's Realm to the hurting places in our world?
In the Love of the Three in One,
Br Jack+, LC