Monday, October 13, 2014

“Don’t tell me about your god with your words. Show me about your god with your actions.”

“One of the great tragedies of life is that men seldom bridge the gulf between practice and profession, between doing and saying. We talk eloquently about our commitment to the principles of Christianity, and yet our lives are saturated with the practices of paganism. We proclaim our devotion to democracy, but we sadly practice the very opposite of the democratic creed. We talk passionately about peace, and at the same time we assiduously prepare for war. We make our fervent pleas for the high road of justice, and then we tread unflinchingly the low road of injustice. This strange dichotomy, this agonizing gulf between “the ought” and “the is”, represents the tragic theme of man's earthly pilgrimage.” ― Martin Luther King Jr., (Strength to Love)

Gospel Text: (LK 11:29-32)
While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them,
“This generation is an evil generation;
it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it,
except the sign of Jonah.
Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites,
so will the Son of Man be to this generation.
At the judgment
the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation
and she will condemn them,
because she came from the ends of the earth
to hear the wisdom of Solomon,
and there is something greater than Solomon here.
At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation
and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented,
and there is something greater than Jonah here.”

The crowd kept asking for a sign and Jesus (the sign) was right there. Not being a scholar of the Old Testament, I had to go back and read about this part as well to fully understand. Jonah preached repentance to those in Ninevah (the capitol of Assyria and enemy of Israel) fully expecting them to ignore him and then be destroyed by God (thus preventing them from attacking Israel). Much to his chagrin and surprise, they did repent and were spared. Jonah’s concern was not imagined – the newly repented and now stronger Ninevites were able to conquer Israel. As I tried to make sense of this, it reminded me of a Sunday gospel a couple of weeks ago. Two sons were asked to work, one said no but actually did work, the other said yes but did not hold true to his commitment. I think that is what we are hearing in these readings. We are called and have the opportunity but if we pass it by, it will be provided to others. The Israelites said yes, but didn’t do what was expected. The Ninevites originally said no (in the way they lived and sinned) yet in the end they repented – so their actions were yes.

Actions do speak louder than words!

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