Psalm 120, 121, 122, 123; 2 Kings 22:1-13; 1 Cor. 11:2,17-22; Matt. 9:1-8
Sorry, faithful readers: there has been some kind of meltdown in the security world that blocked off half our access to the interwebs (only just fixed this morning, thanks to the skills of Chris Palma!) and then Facebook (which is where these posts originate, even these on our website) mysteriously had to have extended ‘routine maintenance’ while being raked over the congressional coals and losing a chunk of market value. All very coincidental, no doubt, but we’ve got this addressed. So here goes today’s ponderings on Scripture.
Probably not the obvious theme, but if you look deeply enough you’ll note that all of the readings are about unity. The psalms all remind us that our sole help, the only source of our unity, is to be found in God. The Old Testament reading is about how failure to agree on what are the actual rules (the ‘Law’) leads to discord; the Epistle hammers home the same theme. And of course, the Gospel is all about Jesus’ insistence that He is the Law in the flesh: secular benefits like healing are only part of the package, which can’t be accessed on their own, divorced from the spiritual.
Unity. An important word. And let’s dispense with an easy mistake: unity is not uniformity. We don’t have to agree on everything. We don’t have to erase our distinctive personalities. There’s a lot of room for difference, friends. But we need to have the same end goals in mind. Unity is about where we’re going, not necessarily where we are today. And in the future, that unity goal, we should be in a place where our differences are the spice that adds beauty and balance to the whole, rather than the jarring incongruity which demands to be heard even if it means our neighbor must need be silent. Where the voice that we all hear is His, and it sounds a lot like it comes out of all our mouths, not just the mouth that’s prone to shouting the loudest, or the one that sulks the most consistently in its corner. Where our discord is bent to His harmonies, and all redound to the melody of praise.
Sound ethereal and unattainable? Probably. That may be why it’s taken the Church 2000 years of hammering home the same theme, only to find that we’ve not yet gotten the point across. But it is the theme, friends: that your truth isn’t inimical to my truth so long as they’re both His Truth. That the fan you’re describing and the tree trunk I’m describing are part of the same elephant, which is greater than either of us can possibly describe if we had a whole lifetime in which to do so. (See the well-known ‘four blind men describe an elephant’ parable.) But just because something’s ethereal and unattainable doesn’t make it wrong. It just makes it, like Love and Truth, really really important and really really bigger than our human limitations could possibly circumscribe. Unity (not uniformity, which is about erasing and forgetting our differences) is one of those ultimate values that we’d do well to strive for. Or at least, so lie the inclinations of today’s readings.