Year A - Epiphany 3 or Guiding Gift3
January 26, 2014
Compare and contrast these two verses:
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near! (v. 17)
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people. (v. 23)
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Much has been made of two kingdoms that have no overlap, no available Venn Diagram. One “kingdom” has to be chosen against in order to choose the other. There is often a stark divide seen between the two. Or, a vast chasm with only a Jesus connection to get you from one to the other. This connection is often seen as a one-way bridge—from an earthly hell to a heavenly paradise.
Note here not the excitement of vocational change and an “immediate” leaving of fishing for fish to a fishing for people, but a giving rather than a taking.
Fishing for people has too often meant hooking or netting them and dragging them from the water to be devoured, to be canon-fodder for a religious cult/institution.
Here, whatever is known as repentance, is connected with teaching (learning) that what we had been told was hell, is, rather, a locus of paradise. Thus it is appropriate to cure the warring sickness among the people by redeeming plowshares from swords. Yes, the cures mentioned could be seen as individuals receiving a healing, but note well that an individual cure that does not also add to the health of the whole body is not a long-term healing.
This widening of repentance is a vocational challenge well-worth the investment of a life—yours and mine. What are you teaching these days that is different than the old dualistic heaven and hell? Can we repent of that too-easy division and return to a paradise grounded on the ground-of-being, fertile soil (humus)?