|DC Balcony Garden|
Jesus is having a number of ups and downs in the last few days of our readings from Matthew. On Saturday, he healed the leper on his way down from teaching up on the mountain. On Monday, he heals the Centurion's slave (from a distance) and then heals Peter's mother and any, and all, who come to Peter's doorway. Yesterday he has a bit of a spat with a scribe and lectures a disciple about priorities of ministry. He then gets in a boat to escape the large crowds to 'go to the other side' and a wind storm comes up while is is sleeping, terrifying his companions, who wake him from much needed rest. And he's a little cranky..."you of little faith"....but he calms the seas to deadness anyway, and the disciples are flummoxed, although probably thankful too.
Than we come to today, where he gets off that boat and is greeted by two individuals banned from town because of the "demons" that possess them. Jesus heals them both, doing as the demons ask and sending those spirits into a herd of swine, who hurtle down a hill and drown themselves. The folks in charge of the swine run off to town to tell what happened, and the townsfolk come out and beg Jesus to just go away.
There is just a whole lot to take in from Chapter 8 in Matthew. But what strikes me today, highlighted by today's encounter, is the authority and certainty Jesus carries. He heals the leper, the Centurion's slave, Peter's mother, all who come-a-callin', calms the nerves of his frightened disciples, cures two individuals with one word ("Go!"), and is still unwanted, misunderstood. (It is understood that this is part of the arc-of-the-story Matthew is creating, and yet...)
How often in life do we feel misunderstood when we are trying to do God's work in the world? How do we react when that misunderstanding leads to treatment that is unappreciative, or worse? Do we stop what we are doing? Or perhaps get sullen and stubborn? Or do we continue doing God's work, being that integral part of the Body of Christ in the world today?
The armor Jesus has on around him is constantly under strain...and he gets a bit testy at times....just like we can. But he still keeps going. And as hard as that can be at times, that is what we are called upon to do as well...just go and do the good work we are called to do, creating the kingdom Jesus opens for all of us. Understanding can come later.
Copyright 2012, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.