When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.” “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment. Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. Matthew 17:14–20
This past Sunday we finished our series “Called to Justice.” I said then and I will repeat here, in finishing we really are just starting. These past eight Sundays have been intended not to complete us but to compel us, to equip us so that we can move into the teachings of Jesus and God’s heart beat for justice.
The amazing thing about being disciples of Jesus is that it is his power and his ability that propels and fuels us. This reality is not an invitation to passivity, but the promise of the power of God in and through us. Jesus’ charge to the folks who could not heal the boy in the passage above was that they needed to believe more fully in God’s ability and then step into the believe in God’s power to do the extraordinary.
A distinctive feature of our call to justice in world is that we are co-creators with God who works through us. We are the answer to the problem of evil in the world and need to take action now – in nonviolence – and not wait until it is easier or the problem solves itself. Yet so often that is exactly what we do — individually and as the Church. This past Sunday I read some quotes from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail this past Sunday. His letter essentially a challenge to the Church which saw the injustice but choose to be blind by their inaction.
Take some time and read the letter here. Though written to a specific people and time, what does it have to say to you and to us here in our place and time? What action steps do you feel called to by these words? Share your thoughts with me and with someone else.
Peace, hope and love