Daily Archives: 23 January, 2012

Sunday 29th January (Epiphany 4B)

We live in an “information age”: newspapers, telephone, television and Internet are our main sources of information beyond our present circumstance. But there are so many sources of information. How do we know it’s authoritative? How do we discern the true word? There are plenty of people who claim to have the answer for you and me – in the stars, a pack of cards, the bottom of a tea-cup, a crystalline rock. And televangelists. But can these folk answer with any authority the question at centre of our lives as Christians?

Jesus “entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” There was a newness and authority about Jesus and his teaching that puzzled his first listeners: not passing on a word from the tradition – but a word from God, a word from beyond their present circumstance, a word announcing the presence of God’s kingdom, a word that brought wholeness to the life of a human being. No-one comments about this miracle, rather they express astonishment at the authority of Jesus’ teaching. Then ‘the other shoe drops”: “What does this mean?”

Jesus’ proclamation is in both word and deed, hallmarks of our God (read the psalm for this week, for example) and an authentic pattern for us.

Asylum seekers come
in hope of freedom
yet
authoritative voices use other words:
illegal, boat-people, Muslim, queue-jumper.
Asylum seekers come
in hope of freedom
yet
are detained behind razor-wire.
Their stories are not heard.
When others speak for them
a cry is heard,
“Have you come to destroy us, to disturb our set ways?”

Can the church speak the prophetic word it must,
with authority,
comforting the few and discomforting the many?
Can the church speak the prophetic word it must,
with authority,
casting out the demons
that bind our community
and its popular ‘authoritative’ voices?
Can the church speak the prophetic word it must,
with authority,
such that people will be asking one other,
“What does this mean?”
        © Jeff Shrowder, 2012.  More for Epiphany 4B…