18. Leave the dead 8:22,15:4
18 Now when Jesus saw great crowds around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. 19 A scribe then approached and said, ‘Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.’ 20And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’ 21 Another of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’ 22But Jesus said to him, ‘Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.’
Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 2‘Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands before they eat.’ 3 He answered them, ‘And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, “Honour your father and your mother,” and, “Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die.” 5But you say that whoever tells father or mother, “Whatever support you might have had from me is given to God”, then that person need not honour the father. 6So, for the sake of your tradition, you make void the word of God. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied rightly about you when he said:
8 “This people honours me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
9 in vain do they worship me,
teaching human precepts as doctrines.” ’
also Matthew 19:19…
Leaving the Sermon of the Mount we get ready to travel… invited by Jesus to go to the literal and symbolic ‘other side’.
Think of a scary or different ‘other side’ in your own life, work, neighbourhood.
What do we give up or take up for Lent?
What can be more primal and basic than shelter/security and the bond of duty to parents?
The passages above highlight what I think is one of the great creative tensions of discipleship and spiritual maturity in the gospels.
In what sense is my family/ formation/ upbringing/ loyalty… life giving?… to which I need to defend/cleave.
In what sense is my family/ formation/ upbringing/ loyalty… life denying?… to which I need to leave… letting ‘the dead bury the dead.’
Beyond the ancient and modern cultural nuances of family obligation, Judith McDaniel asks of this passage…
What from the past is worth preserving?
What is coming to us from the future that requires us to adapt?
What kind of community of disciples is God creating to address the questions of our time? How does our membership and belonging reflect this?
After knowing the costs and demands of following Jesus will we, scribe or follower, outsider or insider, be willing to make the sacrifices to be part of this kind of a community willing to follow Jesus to the ‘other side?’ (vs. 18)?
Name a value from your family upbringing to which you cleave.
Name a value you need to leave behind to find life in new fullness.
Meur ras ha Kres (Much Grace and Peace)
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