Epiphany 4 – Year B
Teaching draws opposition. This seems to have been true from before Socrates and ever since. Teaching (of which preaching can be a subgroup) has its power in clarity (authority is revealed in clarity, not subterfuge) and this is always dangerous for people and times that are interested in simply consolidating or actively trying to replicate a previous experience..
The opposition in this passage is confusion – noise and accusation (still favorite tools of those not ready to proceed).
Can you imagine Jesus not yelling back, not shouting or raising a voice or using an exclamation mark – but simply stating, "Quiet," in a low tone that can be heard in the midst of chaos?
For some it would be enough to settle for "Quiet" but there remains a need for a resolution of the situation. In this case there is also a sending away of that which broke in. A boundary was set. Again, authority is not just control but resolution.
News of this kind of authority does travel. It even awakens the one who demonstrates such authority to additional uses of this resolving power to make whole and make one.
An image we might remember is the play honoring Anne Sullivan, in regard to Helen Keller, is entitled, "Miracle Worker", while the story Helen tells about herself and Anne is entitled, "Teacher." May we all tell this story about ourselves – that we taught those who came after us that they might go further.
A question for us this week is about the authority we demonstrate regarding our own life and the lives of those around us. May it help us resolve the questions we have about who we are and give direction to our courage to be on the edge of new teaching.