Friday, April 27, 2012

Daily Office Reflection: Turning

Psalms: 105:1-22 * 105:23-45; Exodus 24:1-28; Colossians 2:8-23; Matthew 4:12-17  

We have the beginning of Jesus' public ministry in the Gospel of Matthew today. John the Baptist has already been preparing the way, has baptized Jesus, and Jesus has returned from his desert wanderings and self-exploration. John is arrested today and Jesus leaves Nazareth and sets his base of operations up in Capernaum, and he starts to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."

There are a number of definitions for the Greek word "Repent" that Jesus uses today. In our lexicon, it is a very loaded word: much abused by those holier-than-the-rest-of-us types. But, one of the most common meanings of that word in Jesus' time was "turn." A physical turning of the direction of one's life. Jesus is saying to any who would listen: Hey! Turn around and listen to me! I am opening the kingdom of heaven for you, right here and right now! Turn around! A very different kind of kingdom of heaven, for sure, than any might expect. But that understanding unfolds as Matthew's Gospel moves along.

Some of the things our Gospel reading is asking us to consider today is where in our lives do we need to turn? Where can we do a better job living into this kingdom of heaven Jesus opens for us? How do we help others "turn around" and be a part of this joyous love that showers on all of us?

Copyright 2012, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Alley on the PTown flats.

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