Monday, March 24, 2014

“Recognizing isn't at all like seeing; the two often don't even agree.”

What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing; it also depends on what sort of person you are. - C.S. LEWIS

Gospel text: (LK 4:24-30)
Jesus said to the people in the synagogue at Nazareth:
“Amen, I say to you,
no prophet is accepted in his own native place.
Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel
in the days of Elijah
when the sky was closed for three and a half years
and a severe famine spread over the entire land.
It was to none of these that Elijah was sent,
but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon.
Again, there were many lepers in Israel
during the time of Elisha the prophet;
yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”
When the people in the synagogue heard this,
they were all filled with fury.
They rose up, drove him out of the town,
and led him to the brow of the hill
on which their town had been built,
to hurl him down headlong.
But he passed through the midst of them and went away.

“When shall I go and behold the face of God?” (Psalm 42:3)

Often we long for signs. After all, we live in the age of science; without evidence or proof what good are hopeful words? Like the motto on the Missouri State license plate, we are the “show me” people. Where do I find the face of God? Where is the sign that shows me faith is real?

At a distance we follow life in a casual way. Only after we put a face on the words, do we hasten to understand and seek truth. Afghanistan was far away until the young man from down the street who went to school with our son was killed in the war. Gay people were just another group until a daughter confides in her parents. The debates over immigration are unending until a man we know is picked up while driving his grandchildren to school and held in detention. Science esteems the universal, but it is the particular that rouses us from lethargy to enter more deeply into the complex realities of the world.

Jesus’ neighbors were enraged when he suggested that they did not know him. Of course, they knew the child who had grown up in their midst. Like the Nazarenes we are often captive to the familiar. We long for signs but miss what is right before us. If only we would sink lower to see like a child. Then when we pause before sleep to examine the day, we might be surprised by God’s face.

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