Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Sunday Word

Jesus was wonderfully adaptable and flexible -- even while the central core of his teaching and preaching remained unchanged. Jesus could tell what people were desperately needing to hear, what kind of healing their bodies and their souls cried out for, and he addressed those needs with respect and sensitivity. In the midst of the scholarly synagogue community he demonstrated his profound knowledge of Scripture and tradition. When preaching to a bunch of country folk, he talked about "sheep" and "shepherds." His easy accepting manner made him an invited dinner guest to the homes of tax collectors and other well-known "sinners." He obviously made both women and little children feel comfortable in his presence and free to approach him. Whatever situation Jesus found himself in, Jesus could do well.

Jesus' varied healing techniques also reflect this ability to personalize and contextualize his ministry to the needs of others. Jesus did not use one standard method of healing.

In today's texts, Jesus heals in a way that communicated his healing intentions with such "hands-on" force that even a man who could neither hear nor speak knew exactly what was happening, and he heals in a way that doesn't even require the presence of the one he is healing.

Are we as willing to do the extraordinary, the uncommon or the uncomfortable in order to do well for the sake of the Gospel? Are we able to put the goal of communicating the Good News of Jesus Christ above our own personal likes and dislikes, interests and concerns? Are you even willing to accept different styles and spirits in your own community?