Sunday Reflection: OT26: Who's on first?

Gotta catch up! So, a few quick hits...

Here's the meat:

At that time, John said to Jesus,
"Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name,
and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us."
Jesus replied, "Do not prevent him.
There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name
who can at the same time speak ill of me.
For whoever is not against us is for us.

I am not a student of ancient Greek idiom, but I have to wonder whether in the ancient world, the saying in the last line was the same as it is in ours: If you are not with us, you are against us. If it is, then the your circle of allies is rather small, since the number of people you don't know (and whose alliance to you is unknown) is necessarily larger than the circle you do know. The number of people, then, that are not with you not only includes the folks who are known enmeies, but those whose feeelings to you are unknown.

But Jesus turns this around,, stating that this vast sea of unknowns should be counted for you, not against you! Sure -- you will have enemies. But rather than presuming that those neither enemies nor friends is potentially hostile, he asks us to see them as potentially friendly.

Human nature is a two-headed coin. On one hand, we know the worst that humans can do: iolence, disloyalty, fraud, theft, and so on. But on the other hand, Jesus asks us to think well of those who are strangers. He asked his disciples to depend on the kindness of those to whom they preached. The way of Jesus then is not just about trust in the goodness of the Father, but trusting in the potential goodness of all people.

Sure, you will run across those who are hateful and envious and will do you harm. But isn't it true that there are many stangers who will take you in and halp in times of need? Jesus asks us this Sunday to see the good in our neighbor. Maybe then the walls of fear toward them will begin to fall.
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