Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Poor Rudolph

The most memorable thing about Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is that he has a red nose. And the most remarkable thing about him is that he saves Christmas, at least the most insignificant part of Christmas (gifts from a Coca Cola Santa). But the most sympathetic think about Rudolph is that he is excluded from the reindeer games.

It is perhaps this single fact that makes Rudolph’s story a life lesson and something for every follower of Christ to hold in their hearts. The thing that caused the other reindeer to exclude Rudolph was the very thing that saved Santa’s efforts on that foggy Christmas Eve. The thing that made Rudolph different and ripe for ridicule was the special quality that proved most useful at a time of crises. And we know, as outside observers, that all of the other reindeer were wrong, it was as plane as the nose on Rudolph’s face.

So, when you read today’s Gospel lesson don’t get the impression that it is just a story about the healing power of Jesus (Mark 1:21-28). It is a story about healing, but not just about an individual who gets better because of Jesus. It is a story about the healing of a community.

The actions of Jesus in the Gospel cause us to consider inclusion as the goal of healing. People who were thought to have a demonic possession were excluded from the community and the healing Jesus performs in the Gospel enables inclusion. That’s the goal, that’s the point.

Those who were invited to learn from Jesus included tax collectors and sinners, poor widows and prostitutes, and the little children. We fail Jesus Christ when we fail to include all God’s children.  Even those with their nose so bright are children of God. Let their light shine!

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