And they took offense


Like many of you, I am at attention. There are these boys and their coach. They have been trapped underground for days. All thirteen have been found alive! The news from Thailand takes me back to the Chilean miners; and before them, Baby Jessica emerging from the well in Midland, Texas.

Cynics would say we’re glued to the television or radio or smartphone because we are incorrigible rubberneckers. Cynics are sometimes correct in their assessments. Older folk or people spending these days at home might say that they are watching because they are, as we all ought to be, rooting them on.

And then there are those for whom the buzz is too much – those who will take offense if they haven’t already. Where was all of this compassion when…?!

My mind began to go there as I waited in line for a snack-sized Oreo McFlurry. I was dipping into that zero-sum thinking that presumes a winner and a loser to every action or idea. We can come together to rescue 12 boys from a Thai cave but we creatures of God’s world can’t even talk about how…

I have since requested a do-over from my brain/heart.

Certainly, there are countless others whom we ought to rally around in the way that we are on account of the ones not yet well enough to forge their escape. I am almost as certain that demanding people to somehow divert their compassion from this situation to another is as ineffective as it is knee-jerk.

In the words of one Rabbi, “there is a common streak that runs throughout the Torah that goodness begets goodness”. The well does not run dry.

Also, Jesus did not tell stories or choose action that emphasized how humanitarian efforts in response to one kind of crisis hardened hearts toward other human hurts.

God does not shame us into shalom. We cannot, then, shame each other into a common life patterned by kingdom values. Jesus might want us to allow this week of our better angels on display to be a kind of leaven. If hearts can lift weights, well, why can’t this moment be a set of reps for rallying yet undertaken?

 

Rachel May

 
On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
— Mark 6