Pentecost Last - Year B
Sometimes we find ourselves saying more than we know. In a conflictual setting we sometimes only know we want to replace some negative with a positive rather than moving on to a new paradigm. This happens here in the description of Jesus in verse 5. If nasty old Babylon/Rome has a king/emperor and priests and sacrifices and we want a change, we will change kings and priests and sacrificed elements but not do away with the categories.
Here it would have been enough to indicate that Jesus was a “faithful witness” of the expansiveness and immanence of G*D’s presence without going on to such statements as “firstborn of the dead” and “ruler of kings”.
This would keep the focus on the importance of witness (The United Methodist Church added a fifth category to a member’s vow just last year - In addition to connecting with a congregation and denomination by way of “prayer, presence, gifts, and service”, is “witness”, within and beyond said church). Jesus’ witness to G*D’s presence leads to encountering the world from a perspective of grace and peace that transcends any present difficulty. This is categorically different than miracle and power.
We sometimes let what have become religious phrases roll off our tongue as though we knew what we were saying. If we paid more attention to the witness aspect of Jesus we might then rephrase what follows:
To him who loves us and frees us from sin by modeling abundant living and shows us how to live together by loving both G*D and Neighbor as we love Our Self, to him be thanks and service forever and ever. Amen.