URC Daily Devotion Tuesday 1 February 2022

Tuesday 1 February 2022
 
St Luke 8: 16 – 18

‘No one after lighting a lamp hides it under a jar, or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light.  For nothing is hidden that will not be disclosed, nor is anything secret that will not become known and come to light. Then pay attention to how you listen; for to those who have, more will be given; and from those who do not have, even what they seem to have will be taken away.’

Reflection

These three statements do not have an obvious logical flow. Fortunately, the scholars assure us we can treat them as three bullet points, each capable of being expanded but not following on from one another. In fact, Luke himself repeats each of them later and clarifies them with some more context (see 11.33; 12.2; 19.26).   

Perhaps the middle statement is the hardest to make fit with our experience. Our culture assumes it is acceptable not to be honest as long as you don’t get found out. Most people seem to get away with it. We feel relieved and cleaner when some longstanding injustice is finally put right by our courts but we wonder how many others remain hidden. As well as falsehoods and crimes undetected, some of us watch painfully as someone wholly innocent has their lives put on pause – or worse – while investigation processes grind on interminably, not helped by Covid backlogs.

If Jesus was thinking of false religious teachers, it is equally hard to see the evidence that they are exposed and removed. The first Easter may have settled where the Pharisees had got it wrong. It did not stop all sorts of horrors in the name of distorted religion.

This is one of those sayings of Jesus that doesn’t work. Or more accurately, if we want to believe what Jesus is saying, it forces us to reassess our timeframes. There is no promise that everything will be instant, however much Amazon wants us to believe that is life’s gold standard. Fighting for justice is often about shortening the time frame before right prevails; finding peace is often about accepting God’s time frame is longer than ours.

But if we are tempted to abandon justice in the hope of finding a version of peace, we better read the first and third statements again.   

Prayer

Lord God
We are glad that you are, somehow, in final control of our world.
We are glad that what Jesus promises will come about one day.
Help us never to make that an excuse for hiding our light or not using the gifts you have given us.
Use us to hint at what will one day be.
For your Kingdom’s sake
Amen.           

 

Today’s writer

John Ellis, Synod Area Leader for West Kent & East Sussex

Copyright

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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