Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Yes, I'll Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

When I initially read Luke’s familiar account of the Centurion, I was at first struck by how much easier this was to read than John, (who after many weeks, we now leave). In re-reading the Gospel (Luke 7:1-10) again for the first time, I realized that this story of great faith in some ways seems to pick up where John left off. While the main characters are Jesus and the centurion, the message has everything to do with faith, social status, love and community. Could there be a more disparate group of friends? The image of Jewish elders coming forward to appeal to Jesus on the part of a humble Roman centurion, who in turn petitions Jesus on behalf of his friend and slave, runs counter to what we know of the social order of the day.

Yes, this is a story of great faith, but it’s a story that is enriched when the believer’s community connects the believer to God. Even the powerful, believing centurion could not do it alone. Isn’t that the way it is with us? There are times in my life when my needs and story were being carried to Jesus by my friends. My guess is that neither I nor they even knew it at the time. However, the threads that connect us to God are often woven by our friends. So, it's not just about me. It’s not just about you. It’s about us and Jesus and the community that nourishes us and helps us stay connected. But what about this thing called community? If it works so well, how come there are times when we would prefer to fly under the radar, unnoticed and content to be left alone?  Dietrich Bonheoffer in Life Together proposes the following: It is in our differences, in our struggles, in our hurts that we encounter and receive God's grace and gift most completely.   It is then that I am able to see Christ in my neighbor.  It is then that I am able to be loved in spite of myself. It is then I know most deeply my own need for God.

Yes, I’ll get by with a little help from my friends!

1 comment:

  1. The centurion admits that his authority comes from above, but that he relies on those under his command to get the job done. Likewise Jesus claims his authority from the Father and relies on his followers to bring about the Kingdom of God. The link for both is more than merely a business-like relationship. There is deep trust and affection going both ways.