Settle down please. So here we all are studying history together for the next hour. Textbooks out please. And all open them at page 610. Come one – hurry up … Are we all there … ? Good. So … Thomas – would you begin reading from paragraph six: “Jesus said … “?
Jesus said to his disciples, “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But at the judgment it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to Hades. “Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me … “
Thank you Thomas, you can stop there. Okay everyone, the history we are looking at today is “Luke 10 verses 13-16” – the “woe” verses. As this is History and not Religious Studies, what does this tell us of the time we call the “Biblical Period” … ? Susan, let’s hear your …
That word “textbook”. A book of history and instruction carried into and out of class by us good Christians. The document we refer to, sift through, turn to when discussing all this God Stuff. The textbook that is THE arbiter of all theological debate. The one from which we all have our favourite extractions. Usually just a few words. Sometimes even one word. Like the word “textbook”. Like the word “fallen”. As in prefixing another one word – “world”.
One word prefixing not a “word” – but this beautiful gift in which we dwell. This bounty we share together. This gift of taking care of the “resources” we have, the “countries” we divide, the sea and mountains and rivers and deserts – and taking care of each other.
A gift not just of being given – but the gift of being able to give! The gift of taking care of OUR home – ourselves – each other – and all that is this in, and of, this wonderful home.
And doesn’t this word “fallen” demolish all that beauty and wonder … make something so generous into something so repulsive … and make it something GSHJ should have been repelled away from rather than compelled to embrace so tenderly?
Which is why I wonder, in the Christian tradition we Christians perpetuate … Why does that prefix “fallen” form the bedrock of our faith?
Please accept this is just me and GSHJ on display here as always.
Because it seems to me that we then excuse ourselves so easily from so much when we perpetuate the received wisdom of Christian tradition. Wisdom that perpetuates one living in this Fallen World – who is apart from those yet to be saved – who struggles to find ways to “bring the Good News to the needy” – who prays earnestly for God to fix things for “the needy” – for Him to make “their” lives better – to make “them” see the error of their ways – in the name of Jesus we ask, amen.
I read a few commentaries this morning by the learned and wise and I found Christian tradition and history.
Yet that one word: “fallen” – that apple (or whatever fruit) – determines so much for so many in all that we do and think God(and Jesus)wise. And that determines so much in all that we see in who we are – all that we name ourselves – and that “tradition” determines everything.
And yet I see Jesus taking all the tradition of the Chosen People (a tradition made “textbook” and revered and holy – just as we do today), and I see GSHJ trashing it. I see God Soft Hands Jesus trashing tradition – I see GSHJ fulfilling The Law. The Law that is (and was and always will be) unconditional love.
For me Jesus is not just my personal lifebelt to my salvation – for me GSHJ is who I am becoming (and who I fight so hard not to be most of the time). And because of that – phrases like “fallen world” get in the way of who I can be – and of who I am invited to be (if I allow).
And yet each of us who names ourselves a Follower, a Christian – all those who perpetuate the Christian Tradition … Are we not recipients of so much more than these biblical peeps? Are we not living today – right now – so much more than these “deeds of power”?
And if we are …