Daily Office Readings for Friday Proper 8 of Year 1
“For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?’ (Luke 23: 31)
Jesus is observing the character of people in what they perceive as good times, “while the wood is green.” So how will people act in hard times? Or as Fred B. Craddock writes in “Luke” (Interpretation, A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching: Knox Press 1990), “Jesus recites a proverb (Luke 23:31) to the effect that if such a tragedy as his death can occur in a time of relatively non-inflammatory, imagine the holocaust when Jerusalem is a tinderbox.” (p. 271)
Today we have tragedies happening all the time. We have school shootings, work place shootings, and all kinds of man-made horror taking place during our relative “Good times.” We should be very careful that we don’t get desensitized to these horrors. It makes us callous and non caring about the slaughter of the innocent. Every life matters. White lives mater, black lives matter, Asian lives matter, and Hispanic lives matter. Any person or persons killed or unfairly treated is a matter of “stop what we are doing and figure it out.”
Our wood is green now in America. There are no wars going on within our borders. We are not occupied by a foreign country. There are many countries that can’t say that. Citizens of such places feel as though their lives are worthless. Unfortunately, they also think we, here in America, feel the same way about their lives given that we do little to help them. We indeed are our brothers and sisters keeper. The wood is dry in other places, a virtual tinder box or powder keg.
I can imagine a new kind of “Green Peace” wherein we go to places in an effort to bring the wood back to life – making it “green” again, all based on Jesus’ words, “For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?’ If times were better in our neighbor countries they would be more inclined to be satisfied raising their families and becoming world partners in a global way from where they live. Moreover, there is more to this than just the wood being green. Jesus spoke of the wood being green while Israel and Judah were occupied by Roman forces. So, while the wood was green it was not flourishing, not budding. We can do better.
I believe the time will eventually come when we will need an Earth Police in order to establish and maintain peace on our planet. We can’t continue to turn a blind eye to our neighbor’s problems and feel like it’s not our problem. What effects them, affects us to the point there is no “us –them.” We are all one under God.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying through (and to) God’s people. John+