Scripture Reading: John 10:22-30
At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, ‘How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.’ Jesus answered, ‘I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. –John 10:22-27
I bristled a bit when I read the email. I had been in a conversation recently with someone regarding reconciliation within the church and throughout the world, a reality that, I do feel, is one of our greatest challenges. The email seemed to me to make the assumption that I was ignorant of oppression and suggested some books to read to get me started on the road to understanding. I am sure I do have a lot to learn about discrimination and other forms of oppression, but I am certainly not a novice. Why did it bother me so? The author barely knew me, has no idea what I know about the subject and was probably good intentioned. My reaction made me think of the movie, Ground Hog Day. I haven’t seen it but I understand it illustrates an endless cycle of waking up each day and discovering it is Ground Hog Day again and again.
I think my response was the result of my thinking that we cannot read or role play or be lectured into reconciliation. True reconciliation results from letting God clean all the filters out of our brains that cause us to react in unfair or untrue ways with the others in our lives. Reconciliation only occurs when we learn to love like Jesus. Jesus learned to love by getting to know someone. “What is it that you want?” “What do you need?” By taking the time and investing the energy into loving the other, he could meet them where they were. They could meet him where he was. They became reconciled and justice and mercy resulted.
I actually have been a bookworm all my life and know reading to be a great way to experience the realities of others in places far from my rather sheltered existence. I really don’t mind doing role play and enjoy good lectures. What causes my discomfort is thinking that my clocking hours in such activities is all I need to do to be reconciled and create a just world.
Prayer: Lord, infuse us with your ability to love like you, clean our filters so that when we encounter others in our lives we first see the image of you in them. Amen.
All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.