Thursday, March 13, 2014

Lesson of the week

Thursday is my regular "get out of the house" day.  I attend a parents' group at my church. The children get to play in the nursery and I get to socialize and think theologically.  

Our group has been discussing the sermon series from our church.  Darrell Johnson has been doing a series about the "Scandal of the Gospels" based on parables from the book of Luke.  This week's text was Luke 14: 1-15, known as the "dinner party".  Jesus was at a dinner party in the home of a "prominent pharisee" and the teaching took place there.

So the dinner is about to start and there in front of him is a man with dropsy. Dropsy: An old term for the swelling of soft tissues due to the accumulation of excess water.  These days it would be likely be known as edema.

This disease of irony involves the excess build up of fluid but leaves the patient with an insatiable thirst.  In Jesus' time, this term was used metaphorically as well.  Most of our discussion related to how the Pharisee suffered from dropsy and that Jesus sought to heal this illness both physically and spiritually.  The Pharisee is thought to have suffered from a thirst for status.  While the beginning of this parable begins with a trap -- it is thought that the man suffering from dropsy was put there to bait Jesus to break Sabbath law (of not working) but Jesus uses this against them, and does heal the man and proceeds to explain about the how the Pharisee (and others) also suffer from this condition.

Today's discussion centered around our understanding of dropsy in our lives.  What is our addiction?  

Another aspect of this parable was talking about the place of honor at the table. Jesus cautioned against assuming that you are the most important/esteemed person in the room, and said that it is better to be told to move up than to be demoted by the host of the party.  He also instructed the people to invite guests not because they can increase your status, or for their ability to reciprocate, but to invite the marginalized persons.  Our group's discussion touched on who are the marginalized/lesser person in our lives and could we actually do as Jesus said?

Out of this discussion came a phrase/saying. " All change is loss."  To change ourselves, we need to loose something that we value or a comfortable way of doing something.  This is hard for people.  There are various writings from the internet that speak to this.
I resonated with this statement.

Change is major impact and can be seen as threat or just a departure form status quo. Change makes new demands on you that may involve situations which you have not encountered before and may require skills you have not had to develop. It is also unavoidable, undeniable, and inescapable.

 This statement spoke to the heart of certain sentiments expressed.  It is hard to change, and at times we resist because we are afraid to loose our comfortable routines or roles, and at other times, it is hard to change because it hurts.  Either way, some change is inevitable, some change is embraced, while other change is not even acknowledged and blindsides us.  Jesus calls us to step out of our comfort zones to serve, to follow and to embrace.  Are we strong enough, trusting enough to do so?



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