Daily Office Readings for Friday of Proper 5: Year 2
“Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another.” (Galatians 5:26)
Sadly, we have become tribal team members. Maybe our school athletic programs and teams have programmed us to think in this way for everything else we encounter. Perhaps we are too team oriented. I can remember once when I went to a high school basketball game wherein my school played an undefeated school that in fact had not lost a basketball game in years. We beat them that night and one of their cheerleaders fainted. She just couldn’t believe it. There were also altercations from students from both schools after the game. So sad.
I think we need to check ourselves. Sports are fine, but still, just sports. Is it possible that our lessons about sports team loyalty has taken control of all allegiances, for example, political party, church denomination, the so-called “race” we happened to be born into, and so forth? We are always competing against one another. It’s silly and shameful.
There is the one team of God; and then there is the sorted little made-up human teams. In our Gospel lesson for today our Lord Jesus makes a clear distinction between the human team and the team of God. When Peter began to rebuke Jesus about the God ordained path he was about to take, “He [Jesus] turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’ (Matthew 16: 23)
It is often uncomfortable, but we too must look beyond human, made-up distinctions, to that divine allegiance we have with God. We must realize that being created in God’s Image we are all on the same team. Anything less than allegiance to God is just sports and should “get behind us Satan.”
One of the things I try to see from God’s perspective is how much alike are Russians and Ukrainians. The only distinguishing difference I can see is the hatred one group has for the other. God did not make us this way. We need to stop competing against one another, envying one another, as Paul said to the Galatians. Hating one another is hating God who made us.
“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done” (Genesis 2:1 and 2). So, for this evening and tomorrow day my friends, Shabbat Shalom.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John