Love is patient; … it does not rejoice in wrongdoing,
but rejoices in the truth.
1 Cor 13
But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven
was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land;
yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon.
There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha,
and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.
The complete Readings for Epiphany IV, Year C, RCL can be found at:
If you are interested, read the lessons before worship tomorrow.
First, let’s be honest. “Truth” is a very problematic concept. Lots of people and lots of religions and lots of philosophers and lots of scientists think they have “the truth”. “Knowing the truth” is a tool of power-mongering … and many claim it. I do not believe that any one of these has “the truth”. I have come to see, over more than 66 years as a priest and as a person and as a reader and as a meditator that “truth” is a gift of Life … to those who seek it. Living Life reveals the truth … and Truth is only come to when we all share our experience.
Love, in the Gospel, is the source of all Truth … and Truth belongs to us all, never to one person or group or religion.
When I go to worship tomorrow, I will have a very powerful image in my mind. I will see Jesus sitting in that synagogue. And I will see Him replacing the scroll of Isaiah, and sitting down, and saying what He said. I will see Him looking with riveting eyes into the men (yes, just men, then) and saying what he said about the non-Israelite widow, and about the non-Israelite Naaman. I will have a clear picture in my mind’s eye of the synagogue-goers, and their rage at being confronted … yes, in love … by Jesus.
Jesus wanted them to see the Truth … that they were not living God’s way of Love, that they as God’s beloved people had greedily appropriated God’s full and unconditional love to themselves, and despised and rejected everyone else … something they were later to do to Jesus which led to His crucifixion.
That reality hit me right in the core. I began thinking of all the ways that I had appropriated God’s unconditional love for every human being to myself, and withheld it from others. How I have though that some of us deserve God’s love, and some don’t.
If you should be hearing these Readings today … these direct and honest and loving words of Jesus in the Temple that day … perhaps we should be pondering the ways in which the Christian Church in many places these days is, like Peter, denying Jesus and His message – and denying to countless people who need to know God’s amazing love the power of that gift.