The truth of God is the most comforting and joyful presence we can imagine; and also the most disorienting and demanding. There’s a famous Old Testament story (2 Kings 5) about the great military leader of ancient Israel’s fiercest enemy, who comes to the prophet Elisha to be healed of his leprosy; and the prophet tells him simply to wash in the river. He is indignant: surely there must be something more difficult and glamorous and heroic to do? No; it’s perfectly simple. Go and wash, go and join all those ordinary humble folk who are sluicing themselves in the river after a long day’s work, or beating their laundry against the stones. Go and join the rest of the human race and acknowledge who you are. That’s the truest heroism and the hardest.
It’s a foreshadowing of the New Testament invitation: repent and believe and be baptised. Turn round and look where you’ve never looked before, trust the one who is calling you and drop under the water of his overflowing compassion. Be with him. Join the new human race, re-created in the Spirit of mutual love and delight and service.
If Jesus is strange and threatening, isn’t that (the New Testament certainly suggests) a sign of how far we’ve wandered from real humanity, real honesty about our weaknesses and limits?
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Rowan Williams * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Christmas Parish Ministry Preaching / Homiletics
Posted December 26, 2012 at 8:00 am
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