My brother, a Methodist minister, gave me ‘The Lectionary 2018’ for Christmas. Having never followed it, except for main Sunday services, I am amazed at how it connects, builds and illuminates the message.
For instance, Sunday, the 4th Sunday of Epiphany, the message was the authority of Jesus. Monday’s reading showed Jesus exorcising a demon from Legion, shocking and scaring everyone who observed a man who was like a wild animal, transformed to a completely sane and peace loving state. Today Jesus raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead and healed a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years. Both of these passages, revealing who Jesus is, build on the theme of the authority of Jesus.
At the same time, there is another theme being played out in 2nd Samuel. King David has been in exile as his son Absalom launches a power play against his father. Here we see David responding in a puzzling way. When a man comes by to curse him (yesterday’s reading) he believes that perhaps it is God’s will and allows the man to follow and throw stones. In his humbled state, he asks that all who wish to join him in exile turn back, he has no destination. Of course these groups stay with him.
In today’s reading we see Absalom killed by a party of David’s men even though David asked that no harm would come to him. The response of David is great woe. He is inconsolable. Absalom, O Absalom, why you and not me?
In David’s response we see the love of God. Though Absalom was a rebel, he was the son of David and David loved him. In Jesus, we see the love of the Father for his children. Lost causes, hopeless situations, life put on hold all changed by the power of love. Jesus has the authority of the Father to pour out the love of the Father on His children.
And what about us? How do we, if we have received this most awesome love, pass it on?