Daily Reflection
May 5th, 2004
Barbara Dilly
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
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I am fortunate that my Sunday school teachers pointed out to me Biblical passages like the ones in Psalms 67: 2-3, 5, 6, and 8 when I was a child.  We read responsively the Psalms every Sunday in my rural Iowa German Lutheran Sunday school.  And back in those days, we were required to memorize a lot of them.  So the first thing that came to mind when I read the lessons for today was how familiar were those words about God’s shining face, blessing us, guiding us toward salvation. 

In fact, all of the lessons for today are familiar.  But they take on new meanings as I grow older and grow in faith.  To me the story of the prophets and teachers called Barnabas and Saul is a story about how the Holy Spirit calls us and sends us to be agents of God’s word.  And in the Gospel message, Jesus reminds us that he was called and sent to be an agent of the word of God.  Especially at this time of year, when we are still reveling in the joyous news of the resurrection, how can we too help but feel called and sent to be agents of the word? 

But there are some other very familiar words in this passage.  Jesus says, “for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world.”  I’ve heard that before too.  In John 3:16-17, the passage that was assigned to me at my confirmation, we hear these words, “for God came into the world, not to condemn the world, but that we might be saved.”  I’ve always been taught that being an agent of the word means that we too, like Jesus, should be messengers of light and not condemnation.  But it is tempting at times, for me, to pass my pitiful human judgment on those who don’t observe the light. Last Sunday at worship was a case in point.  Where were all those people who sat there on Easter morning, soaking in the light?  Did they go back to living in the darkness?  Thank God, that is not my problem.  How much more wonderful to be called to be agents of words about God’s shining face, God’s blessing, God’s salvation, than to speak some grim drivel about condemnation. 


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