Today we celebrate the bigness of creation, which is minute compared with the vastness of God. Anselm wrote in the Middle Ages that to understand God we can first imagine the biggest thing we can imagine. Got it? Then he said that God is bigger than that. This weekend marks the annual feast day of Francis of Assisi, a young aristocrat who discovered the gracious subversive message of the gospel of Jesus of Nazareth, and left everything to be a disciple, eventually becoming a monk, who worked to rebuild the Church in the 13th century, and who continues to do so through his influence today. He is remembered in churches throughout the world on the anniversary of his death: October 3, 1226.
Francis produced many things in his life, many of which we discovered and discussed this past year in our services. Some of the music and prayers we say today are attributed to him. He also is given credit for renewing and clearly articulating the way in which we are interconnected with creation, and all together intended for relationship with God through Christ.
Matthew 11:1-7, 16-39 Jesus talks of John the Baptist, explaining what was happening through him by asking what people saw in him. Jesus then goes on to lament towns and regions that have refused to recognize the way in which God is present, active and blessing the world – through John’s ministry and now in the person of Jesus. They have looked with shut eyes, or closed hearts at the world, not seeing the Divine at work because of their own skepticism, fear, rejection, bitterness, or their un-owned expectations. The implication of the text is that we too are asked the same question – do we see God at work in the world, in the person of Jesus, and now through the moving of God’s Spirit? The implication is that it’s happening all around us – so why don’t we see it?
Questions for going deeper:
- What strikes you in these scriptures – what bothers you, or grabs your attention?
- What distracts you, or how are kept from being attentive to God’s presence in all things?
- How are you blessed, what happiness has God given to you? How are you responding?