A number of us write reflections on the Gospel reading for the week at St Andrew’s Church Madison. Here are my reflections this week.
Eventually somebody is going to lift back the corner of the rug and see all the stuff that’s been swept under there for years. Hopefully, it doesn’t smell too bad, or decay, or attract bugs, because once you’ve disturbed it, it will remain disturbed.
The Gospel this week is not a word that is cuddly and warm from gentle Jesus. This is a prophetic word, not so much a threat but a truth telling. Much as King said “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” this is not a threat, but a description of the way the world works. Jesus made a practice of showing love and support for those who were marginalized in his time, foreigners, women, disabled, ill, the list goes on. By giving these his attention, he demonstrated that they had worth, and allowed them to believe they had worth as well. When people understand their self-worth, they are no longer content to live on the margins. They insist on standing side by side with those who occupy the center.
This was disruptive in Jesus’ day. It is disruptive today. “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” This is not a threat, it is a description of the way the world works. Justice can be messy, and depending upon which side you stand, it can be profoundly disturbing to realize your personal unwitting or witting participation. Therefore we ask forgiveness for what we have done and left undone.
What is under your rug? In fact we may not have personally been the sweepers but we’ve enjoyed the comfort of the carpet. Just read the paper and watch the news. “The Moral Universe” is showing us that we have some cleaning to do. How shall we increase justice today?