The Rev’d Roger Elks
Click here for the text of the reflection
Are you good at goodbyes? Some people never seem to go quickly and take forever to say goodbye. And some people say goodbye much too quickly and disappear even before we’ve had a real opportunity to let them take their leave. Jesus had to say goodbye to people who wanted to keep him with them. Our readings from Luke chapter four, beginning at verse 38. (NIV)
Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. 39 So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them.
40 At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of illness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. 41 Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, ‘You are the Son of God!’ But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Messiah.
42 At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. 43 But he said, ‘I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.’ 44 And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
The people had found something wonderful. Here was a healer who healed those whom they brought to him. And of course, when you find a resource like that, a person like that who can make such a difference in a world where there was no modern health care, you want more. We would want to hold on to someone who was able to change people’s lives like this. And so it says in verse 42, “they tried to keep him from leaving”.
We are always limited in our human view, aren’t we? We’re trying to expand our minds and our faith and our understanding. But we are limited. And in order to understand the world, we tend to shrink it, to fit it into what we already know, things that we can understand, things that we can control so that we can feel safe. And of course, we try to do this to God. We try to shrink him, to trap him, to make him more like us so that we can understand him and then perhaps control him. The people in this passage try to keep Jesus from leaving them so that they could control him. And, of course, they were disappointed that he had to go to the other towns and his mission was greater than just this particular town.
God disappoints us sometimes as well when he doesn’t fit into what we want. It’s not that he doesn’t care, but that he sees a bigger picture. He sees much more than we can see in our own little worlds. So today, let’s ask Jesus to help us to be more like him and to help us to stop trying to make Jesus small-minded like us.
Heavenly Father, open our eyes that we may see Jesus and see his work in the wide world that he loves. Amen.
Our Collect. Almighty God, who called your church to bear witness that you were in Christ reconciling the world to yourself; help us to proclaim the good news of your love, that all who hear it may be drawn to you; through Him who was lifted up on the cross and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen.