Jeremiah 1:4-10 • Psalm 71:1-6 • 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 • Luke 4:21-30
In today's story, Jesus has just finished reading a scripture passage which has everyone speaking well of him. Now, however, the crowd starts to get restless about this hometown boy done good. To make matters worse, Jesus himself begins to identify stories of God's care for foreigners: specifically, a widow at Zarephath of Sidon and Namaan the Syrian. The crowd becomes so angry that they try to throw him off a cliff.
Hatred between groups of people is nothing new. The Nazis hated the Jews. The Japanese hated the Koreans. The Hutus hated the Tutsis. The Turks hated the Armenians. Around the globe, groups of people have not only hated, but attempted to destroy other groups of people. It is an old story, and not confined to humans. Ant colonies will attack other same-species ant colonies. Many other animal species will often ward off members of their own species if not a part of their flock (ducks), herd (wolves), community (chimpanzees), or family group (prairie dogs).
Here, early in his ministry, Jesus is quick to say that we humans must let this behavior go. It is a deeply rooted instinct to be suspicious of the stranger, the foreigner. But this instinct, based in fear, can keep one from the kingdom of God, where patience and kindness reign, and where arrogance towards others has no place.
Morning reflection: What chances will I have today to be welcoming of people who are different from me?
Evening reflection: What gets in the way of kindness towards others?