Metanoia: February 16, 2018

Isaiah 58:1–9a
Matthew 9:10–17
Psalm 51:1–10

“Hey Jesus, why do you do things differently?”

Jesus gets the question from both the Pharisees and John’s disciples in today’s reading. Jesus ignores the expectations of society when it comes to how he acts, and with whom he hangs out. He seems to defy convention when that convention leads away from God. He irritated people.

Recently, I went out for lunch with a friend, enjoying the meal and saving some to eat later. Heading home, I ran some errands. As I walked out of a grocery store, I saw a woman with a sign that said simply “HOMELESS.” People were ignoring her. Though I’d never done something like it before, I stopped to talk with her; “What do you need?”

“I need a place to live. And some food.”

I didn’t have a place for her to live. But after more conversation, I gave her the food I had. I went on my way. Somehow, that conversation was a gift to me, an experience of doing something differently, of communicating with someone I wouldn’t normally hang out with. I hope that the food and the conversation were gifts to her too.

Too often, I either don’t see or am afraid to encounter, those folks different from me. Jesus calls us to see with new eyes, to defy societal expectations, and to meet each other as we are. I think we are called to follow in his footsteps, to defy convention when that convention leads away from God. Some days, that irritates people and they ask “Hey, why do you do things differently?”

Lord, thank you for the reminder to engage those who are different from us. Enrich our faith through those encounters and form us into the people you want us to be. Amen.
-Rob McPeak