Learning from the Edge

Monday, June 10, 2013 — Week of Proper 5, Year One

Ephrem of Edessa, Deacon, 373

[Go to http://www.missionstclare.com/english/ for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office

(Book of Common Prayer, p. 970

Psalms 56, 57, [58] (morning) // 64, 65 (evening)

Deuteronomy 30:1-10

2 Corinthians 10:1-18

Luke 18:31-43

Learning from the edge.

The inner circle didn’t understand. Maybe they were too close. But when Jesus took the twelve aside and tried to explain to them the most important aspect of his calling and mission, they didn’t get it. The description in Luke’s gospel emphasizes the problem by stating it three ways — “But they understood nothing about all these things; in fact, what he said was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.” (Luke 18:34)

But from the edge comes another voice. “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” He uses a royal title to address Jesus. The inner circle tries to quiet him. What could he know? He’s causing a disturbance. Who does he think he is? He’s blind, after all.

But he persists to cause a commotion from the outside, demanding attention. And Jesus stops everything to hear him out. One of the prophetic signs of the coming of God’s reign is that the eyes of the blind shall be opened, according to Isaiah. Jesus brings this outsider in from the edge and heals his sight with those enigmatic words, “Your faith has saved you.” And the blind man follows Jesus on this road toward the cross.

Luke’s implication — the blind see and those who think they can see, those disciples in the inner circle, can be blind.

I have a friend, Tracey Lind, who has always exercised her priesthood by searching for the edge, to discover what God is doing “out there.” In an inner city parish in New Jersey she established a vibrant ministry among undocumented workers from Central America and the Caribbean. We were at a church event when I first met her. She looked at my name tag — “Lowell Grisham — Fort Smith, Arkansas.” “Well, Lowell, where is the EDGE in Fort Smith, Arkansas?” she asked. I thought about it for a moment. Fort Smith seemed such a conventional town. My ministry there seemed so conventional. “Well, Tracy, there is no edge in Fort Smith, Arkansas.” I was blind, of course. But we became good friends, and she helped me open my eyes just a bit to see the work of God at the edge — so richly evident yet so easily missed by those of us in inner circles.

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