Today’s Readings: Psalm 89; Nehemiah 13:4-22; Matthew 13:53-58; Revelation 12:1-12
Last night was an exceedingly difficult night for me. It was difficult because there were ballot measures before the voters in two states that dealt with the rights of members of my own community: the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender community. I can’t put into words how helpless one feels when you are a member of a minority community and the majority gets to decide whether or not you will get the same rights others.
As the results trickled in from Maine, I was moved to tears as I thought of how my friend Holly and her partner were losing their legal rights as a couple. Some of the grief was temporarily offset, however, when I learned that voters in my home state of Washington had protected the rights of same-gender couples. As I dug into the electoral map of Washington State, however, my joy was tempered when I saw that the voters of Eastern Washington (the place where I was born and raised) were strongly opposed to the recognition of such rights. It served as a brutal reminder that my family and I will probably never be welcomed back into the area in which I was raised.
Needless to say, I can totally relate to Jesus’ words in today’s passage from Matthew: ““‘Prophets are not without honor except in their own country and in their own house.” The words from the next verse are even more poignant for me: “And [Jesus] did not do many deeds of power there, because of their unbelief” (Matthew 13:57-58 from the NRSV).
While Jesus would have loved nothing more than to be in ministry with folks from his hometown, he was unable to. Jesus did not let that painful reality hold him back. He moved on to other areas that could receive his ministry. Jesus gave me a powerful example to follow as ten years ago I had to acknowledge the attitudinal limitations of the area in which I was raised and move on to other areas of the country that could receive my ministry.
Perhaps you are wrestling with a similar dynamic in your own life. Maybe there’s a group of people you would desperately love to reach that are not open to you. If that’s the case, I would encourage you too to follow Jesus’ example and move on to those who can receive the fullness of your gifts. Til next time…