The week got by me and I did not get my usual podcast up offering a reflection on one or more of the Lectionary texts for the week. This week I will offer a brief written thought.
When you see the world, what do you see? In our current political climate we tend to see in terms of “left” and “right” or “red” and “blue.” A friend from college and I reconnected on Facebook some time ago. We caught up on our differing life stories. Guy remarked in an email his chief concern was how do people treat the other/Other. The matter transcends categories of left and right, as well as “red states” and “blue states.” It is something of a Good Samaritan question.
How we see others tends to be filtered through a grid. Sometimes we view people from a position of power. That is, we tend to think of them from an “upper hand” vantage point. Hidden or outright arrogance is well reflected in our actions toward those we feel some power over. From the position of weakness we form different pictures/thoughts. Hidden or outright resentment may be welled up looking for the slightest crack from which to explode in one form or another.
In the 2 Samuel 7 passage, some motivation compels David to tell Nathan he would build God a house seeing he was doing just fine in the palace. All is good until God and Nathan share a conversation. God reminded Nathan he was doing just fine dwelling with the people, wherever they were, in a tent. The need to get God a house seemed misplaced.
We like God in a house. We are not sure we like God moving around. In a house we know where he is and where he is not. In a house we now how we are to act and what kind of “dress” to “put on.” In a house God may be managed and controlled.
No, for David, at least, there would be no house. It is interesting that Solomon would indeed build the house. One wonders if that too was a concession, much like giving the people a king.
When we get to the Mark 6 passage we find God “tenting” with people in Jesus. He moves about. He challenges convention -and conviction. And, he does something quite striking – he shows us how to view the world in a whole new way. He shows us how to view people in a whole new way. Getting to the “other side” is often a euphemism for getting to where no one wants to go and to be around people no one wants to spend time with – you know who those people are to you.
Seeing the world in a whole new way may be less about discovering how human beings affect the environment. Seeing the world in a whole new way may be less about the political hot topics of this country or any other. Seeing the world in a whole new way, may well be about being God’s eyes to see the world the way Jesus saw the world so we may be about the life of Jesus in our world today.
Now, who would you refuse to associate with? Where would you refuse to go because someone might be there? Who would you refuse to show love and compassion because what they may be doing? The love of God cannot be housed in a Temple or in a life (human temple) unwilling toÂ live for the other/Other in love.