It’s exciting to be there when an attractive, bright, young leader launches a career—in politics, the church, education, whatever the arena. The audience sits up straight and says, “That is one to watch!”
So it must have been for those lucky enough to be around for the “calling” stories we hear in the gospels of this season, when Jesus begins his public ministry. In them, Jesus announces not the wrath of God, nor the triumph of God, nor the punishment of God, but the healing, freeing, feeding, tender touch of God.
And what of those who may not have heard Jesus initially, but would soon be dramatically affected by his healing power? The first was Peter’s mother-in-law. Rumors of that synagogue announcement might have penetrated her fever with a gleam of hope. Blind Bartimaeus, the woman bent double for eighteen years, the paralytic, the leper, the widow of Nain, those who would hear the Beatitudes and perhaps for the first time know blessing in what had seemed like unrelieved misery: all probably carried on their usual routines that day oblivious to huge change on the horizon.
What of us, today, who also seem distanced by time and space from the direct proclamation of gracious words? We may be just as unaware of what hovers seemingly out of reach.
To be continued…