Scripture Reading: John 4:5-42
The woman said to him, ‘Sir, I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. –John 4:19-23
Funny on how we can so easily reach agreement on that which we disagree and rarely take the time to build on that which we do agree. The Samaritans landed in Israel in the split of Israel and Judah after the death of Solomon. The temple was in Judah. Thus, over time, I guess, the Samaritans designated their own sight for worshiping God that was not recognized by the Judean side of the family. Thus, the subject matter for Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman reached back to this old breach. Jesus’ answer is very practical. The place and building does not matter. We worship God in spirit and in truth wherever we might be.
This mirrors the fight over prayer in school. Should it be allowed, should it be mandatory? The answer in a joke is “As long as there are tests, there will be prayer in school.” I do not know who originated it and apparently, no one else does. I heard it first from Frosty Troy a former local newspaper writer. The point is well taken. Our relationship with God drives how we relate to others. We can never make others relate to us as we might wish. I believe the Lord wants us to choose to relate to God who is omnipotent, all powerful, capable of creating us and surely capable of changing our will but chooses to be loved by choice.
The solutions to our problems lie in our ability to identify the issues on which we do agree and build on them. While there is much descent on whether we should provide necessities to people who lack them, we never seem to discuss the fact that if all workers earned a living wage the need to subsidize those wages with food stamps, child care subsidies, and to a degree Medicaid would markedly be reduced. If we put as much effort into identifying ways businesses could succeed and pay a living wage, we could stop wasting our time with legislation requiring people to work, many of whom are already working.
Prayer: Lord, forgive us when we let our pride or our greed or our need to always be right get in the way of fulfilling your call to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Prevent us from making excuses, guide us to finding answers that provide justice for everyone. Amen.
For a better understanding of a living wage see http://livingwage.mit.edu/articles/15-minimum-wage-can-an-individual-or-a-family-live-on-it