The National Geographic’s TV series on Egypt is currently examining the rise and decline of the different Tombs of the Pharaohs and their predilection for equipping their final resting place with all the “goodies” to ensure their passage to eternal life and eventual resurrection. It hit a hurdle in the latest episode. James, in his almost belligerent outpouring in the second reading, would be saying “I told you so!”
The recent episode involved a grand dig to remove huge amounts of sand, a door was discovered, the archaeologist crawled in, the tomb was completely empty, no signs of looters…just termites.
“Your wealth is all rotting, your clothes are all eaten up by moths”. James 5:2
Where do we place our priorities?
For Mark, facing the persecution of his new community, he proclaims, “Anyone who is not against us is for us.”
The spirit of hard and fast rituals, harsh legalisms, and desire to be really separate from the existing communities, both Jewish and Roman, found it difficult to handle kindly acts by different sides. So, the acts of the Good Samaritan, the Roman Centurion caused wonder. You, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan, for a drink is now replaced by…
“If anyone gives you a cup of water to drink just because you belong to Christ, then I tell you solemnly, he most certainly will not lose his reward.”
Another nail in the old order, another call to conversion for us.
Sure, there are things in our lives that we must work to tear out. Greatness in our community will still be measured by service within that community.
Let us try this week to recognise more clearly the “Christ” in the face of the hand who offers us a cup of water.