Bringing It All Together, Part Deux

A reading for Saturday, January 25, 2014: John 4:27-42

It's a little surprising and not just a little bit comforting how often the disciples don't seem to understand what Jesus is doing.  Peter represents this best for me, but in today's story we can see that all of the disciples seem confused about what Jesus is doing in welcoming and talking to a Samaritan woman.  While they don't say anything, they wonder.  What is he doing?

Bringing people together, as Jesus is doing, will most certainly always put us in the same place of others not understanding what we are doing.  Fact is, most of the world like our differences.  We like knowing who we are over against another person or group of people.  It's like Red in the movie the Shawshank Redemption, we have become institutionalized: "These walls are funny. First you hate 'em, then you get used to 'em. Enough time passes, you get so you depend on them. That's institutionalized."  Perhaps even the disciples of Jesus like knowing that Samaritans are different from them.  They depend on that.

But Jesus calls us to tear down such walls, and bridge differences.  Jesus is bringing us all together.  Don't be surprised, however, if when you do His work people misunderstand and even criticize you.  They will say you don't "like your own" people.  They will say you don't have any standards.  When it comes to faith they will doubt your commitment and your understanding and most definitely your theology.  "What is he/she doing?" they will ask maybe even out loud, but probably not.

Bringing all things together is hard work and sacrifices will be necessary.  But in the end, an entire village of Samaritans welcomed Jesus to stay with them.  In the end, they understood the message and embraced it even as the disciples were struggling to understand.

Where are you and I being called to bring people together today?  Lord, help us to understand.  


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