Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Daily Office Reflection: Responding

Psalms 5, 6 * 10, 11; Jonah 1:1-17a; Acts 26:24-27:8; Luke 8:40-56

We have interesting accounts of how we can respond to situations in our readings today. Our Hebrew Testament lesson begins the story of Jonah and his near-instinctual and terror-filled decision not to go to Nineveh. The story doesn't tell us how Jonah received "the word of the Lord" instructing him to go to Nineveh, we just know that he got it somehow and boarded a boat to allow him to flee to Tarshish instead. We end today's account with the raging sea calming after Jonah tells the crew to throw him overboard for he knows the tempestuous seas are his fault. In the sea he is subsequently swallowed by a large fish, which we are told was provided for him by the Lord.

In our Gospel reading from Luke we have the account of Jesus, Jairus and his dying/dead 12 year old daughter and the woman who had been suffering hemorrhages for 12 years. Jesus responds immediately to Jairus' plea to help him and his daughter, he just gets up and goes with him. The woman with the hemorrhages responds to Jesus by knowing that she just needs to touch the fringe of his clothes and she would be made well.

Complex and interesting and at the same time simple responses to God's calls to us are what we have today in these two readings. Responding out of fright is one way, out of sense of responsibility is another. Responding from a deep sense of faith and confidence in God's presence is yet another way. We don't know how things will turn out, no matter how much we plan and try to control the events we are thrown into daily. Jonah, by insisting on being tossed overboard, Jairus is coming to Jesus, the hemorrhagic woman in knowing she could be cured are responses based on a deep sense of faith. These are blind steps of faith with heroic consequences, unknown to be so at the time they were taken. Control and plans were let go. Trust took their place.

Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.

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