2.04.2010

Amazing unbelief

Mark 6:1-6
‘Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?’ And they took offense at him.

How powerful is our need to be right, to be superior!

Jesus has returned to his hometown preceded by rumors of his miraculous healings, authoritative teaching, his message of hope for the hopeless and sight for the blind. Hearing for themselves, his friends and neighbors dismiss him -- "Oh, it's just that Jesus, the one we know."

Hearing this story today I'm drawn to the power of my expectations to blind me to what is right in front of me. The Nazarenes saw only the regular guy from an ordinary family instead of the teacher who excited crowds and struck fear in the hearts of kings and priests. I, too, am often left looking for God in the extraordinary rather than sensing the Spirit at work in ordinary people in everyday life.

The miracle of Christ's incarnation points us to where God is at work -- with us, in history, among people, at the margins of society as well as the center. This is a dangerous place to look, because it takes away all of our excuses. "I don't know enough." "I'm not holy enough." "I can't (pray, teach, serve, love, etc...) very well." None of them cut it if God truly works here and now with people like us.

It's no wonder I sometimes expect God to be extraordinary -- it takes all the pressure and responsibility off of ordinary me! It's amazing to me that I have the power and lack of discernment to look right through all the love, mercy and power of God cloaked in flesh. Perhaps as amazing as his townspeople's unbelief was to Jesus himself.

God, though, is more patient with me than I am with myself. I don't need to have perfect vision or never look for God's mystery. Just that when I am standing looking up at the sky for God's revelation, I need to remind myself that God might as easily be walking down the street, or across the office, or even kneeling at my feet.

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