Pentecost 3 :: Can't get no satisfaction!

2009 UK Trip  082

Aidan of Lindisfarne

Some people just are not ever satisfied. No matter how well things might be going, they’re always on a tear because it could’ve been so much better. Get an “A” on an important test? Well, it could’ve been an “A+”! Hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth to tie the score? Well, if you guys’d been able to load the bases, we’d have won! Throw a party for the neighborhood? One household didn’t show up—the outrage of it all!

The leaders of the synagogue were upset because John the Baptist refused to party down. I guess his abstinence made those pharisaical party-goers look bad. “He must be mad! Don’t listen to him.” Contrariwise, Jesus did enjoy a party or two in his time but the leaders got upset at him because he was popular with the crowds. “He must be a carouser. Look how he acts in public! The indignity of it all.” Can you say, “Not Satisfied”?

Of course, the leaders would be expected to react this way. After all, John and Jesus were saying things about religion that they couldn’t bear to hear. Things like: “Repent!” “The reign of God is near!” “Follow me!” Such imperatives threatened the very livelihood of the Temple-keepers who relied on the people going through them in order to get right with God. Instead of being thrilled that God was revealing Godself in new and exciting ways, they looked for ways to silence this threat to their power. The burden of Christ is so much easier than we could imagine. And we are not satisfied.

Alas, not much has changed. The continuing revelation of God in Christ sometimes seems at cross purposes [pun intended] with what the Church is doing. Dogma, doctrine, and discipline are often preferred—by those in charge—to a real, genuine experience of the Holy in people’s lives. We want people to come to faith on our terms. But God’s terms are so much easier than ours. And we are not satisfied.

Something to ponder:

What burdens are lifted for you as you come to faith on Christ’s terms?

Link to RCL Lectionary for Proper 9, Year A

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