Year C - Pentecost+7 or Community Practice+7
July 3, 2016
A next try for Jesus Messengers.
We have just heard of post-Transfigurational attempts to live out Jesus’ focus on engaging G*D closely enough that it will change the way we interact with one another. First a failed healing (9:40). This is followed with failed learning by failing to ask clarifying questions (9:45) and vying for institutional bragging rights of succession (9:46). There is an attempt to blame another so I’ll look better (9:49). Last week it was messengers sent ahead to reprise the blame game with harm being added to accusation and excuses aplenty (9:51-62).
After all this Jesus tries girding the disciples in nothing but one another. This seems to have had some effect as they report out of joy rather than status. Apparently healings are now possible and there is a brief respite from the internecine behavior previously evidenced (and still evident today).
End of the story here is, “Rejoice in nothing.” Read that again. Again.
Know that what follows (10:21-24) is Jesus’ closet prayer that the slow-of-head-and-heart had a moment of glimpsing something larger—the importance of nothing. We won’t get to this in the lectionary in a following week, so it will be important to acknowledge here that this gets turned from insight into a doctrine of exclusiveness, contrary to the parentheses of “nothing” that bracket this story. This is fair warning to warn that triumphalism lurks everywhere and is a dead-end—attractive but idolatrous.