2nd Week of Advent: No Longer Enemies
The Light Shining in the Darkness, that Cannot be Overcome
Isaiah 11:1-10, Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19, Romans 15:4-13, Matthew 3:1-12
This Sunday’s lectionary texts present the familiar vision of the peaceable kingdom -- a place of harmonious coexistence of those who might seem like “natural” enemies. This is the place where God enacts perfectly just rewards and punishments, perfect winnowing. We get a taste of this Reign of God as we live in harmony with one another. Paul urges us to remember that Christ’s mission was not limited to people like us, but without a doubt extended to the “gentiles/the other” and beyond.
In the Christian tradition, we use the image of the human body to describe our relationship to one another, as we relate not only to our friends and relatives, but to all our neighbors. We are all members of the one body. We are not alike, just as the parts of the body are not alike, but we belong together. If one is hurt, all suffer, just as my whole body seems to suffer from the pain in my back.
Humankind was created in the image of God. As members of the human race, we are one. God’s expansive lovingkindness calls us to be loving and respectful in our treatment of others, not just those who are like us or part of our group.
So the compassion of Christ moves us beyond the limits of our own communities. When I, as a Christian, center on Christ, I become more and more open to the universal light, rather than becoming more and more exclusive. In contrast, when we become centered on ourselves, in conflict with a neighbor, we may forget the light we share with all humanity, with all creatures.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:17-18
How can you increase your advocacy for a person or a group of people whose human rights have been violated?
In a world that seems to be increasingly exclusive --increasingly separated into disconnected enclaves of mutual distrust-- what helps you feel connected with a broader whole? To “the Body of Christ”?