Worldly

Readings: Psalm 42; Ezekiel 47:1-12; Jude 17-25

It is these worldly people, devoid of the Spirit, who are causing divisions. But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. [Jude 19-21, NRSV]

My friend Karen’s parents did their best to cause trouble between her and her brother, Chris. When Karen got a role in a school play, they asked Chris why he didn’t. When Chris got a summer job, they accused Karen of being lazy because she didn’t. The success of one was always the failure of the other. Karen and Chris were never allowed to be friends, to support each other and be happy in each other’s company. Even after their parents died, they didn’t become close: too much damage had been done.

I think that’s what Jude meant by worldly people: people who do their best to divide and diminish. He saw it as an indication that they were missing a connection with the Spirit; where there should be an abundance of love, there was a void. Perhaps sowing division is all that’s possible with a barren inner landscape. How else to explain parents pitting one child against another?

Until I read this passage, I hadn’t thought about Karen and Chris in years. Jude has given them back to me. In gratitude for this unexpected Advent gift, I’ll give them back to God in prayer.

Lord, bless them and keep them, bring them home to Bethlehem. Amen.

[Three Rowhouses, 2019-2019, by Colin Fredrickson]

 

 

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Johnna

I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

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