Daily Office Readings for Tuesday of Proper 11 of Year 1
“But the residents of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews, and some with the apostles. And when an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to maltreat them and to stone them, the apostles learned of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country; and there they continued proclaiming the good news.” (Acts 14:4 – 7)
I have traveled much in my life. The one thing that I have learned is that there are good and bad people in every walk of human life. I have been to several places in Asia, in the Middle East, in Europe, in the South Pacific, in Africa and of course here in the Americas. It matters not the ethnicity of a people. Some folk just want to be mean or evil. And some (I believe most) want to be good.
So when I read that “The residents of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews, and some with the apostles. And when an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to maltreat them and to stone them” I am not surprised. Such behavior is consistent with what I have experienced in my own time and travels around the world.
Some people have compassion for others and some do not. I think it only takes a few minutes to be with someone to get a feel of where their heart is. I can normally tell by how they refer to those who are different in some way; racially, ethnically, nationality, or whatever. I can also get a sense of how some people refer to those who do not think in the same way they do regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality or whatever.
I saw a skit once where a comic said he and his brother were bigots. They didn’t like anybody that was different than they were in any way. And finally he said, he was even thinking hard about whether or not he even liked his brother. After all, his brother wasn’t he, himself. Perhaps some people are just made to be unsettling.
I have noticed that in order for evil to play itself out it requires others. Acts of revenge, retaliation, jealousy, and hatred requires a focus on other human beings. O sure, people can be mean to animals too. And that is sad. But maybe these disgusting acts are clues as to what might develop later.
Love on the other hand, can focus on ourselves, on others, and on the creatures of the earth and on the Creator God, God’s Self. Love has no bounds and does not withhold compassion. If the person who tries to love the other is denied their good intentions, the lover flees to another place, “and there they continue proclaiming the good news” of love.
The methodology remains the same for the followers of Jesus: where the people receive the Word, we stay and preach and teach. Where it is not received, we move on. We try to plant. Where it takes hold and grows only God knows.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow. John+