The Revd David Adamson
May it be given to me to speak in the name of God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen
I was scrolling through Facebook earlier this week, as so many of us are want to do, and came across an amusing post by a friend. It posed the question “Will you have the vaccine?” It went on as follows:
So, my answer to this question is the same as my answer to:
- But can you be certain that Trump lost?
- Really? You think the earth is round? And
- And you’re sure that the Queen isn’t a shape-shifting lizard member of the illuminati?
Clearly, the answer was an unequivocal yes!
Like so many of us I’ve become rather intrigued by the way in which people can come to believe something that I is manifestly untrue through the many sounding chambers of the internet. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram….you name it, you can find someone who will back you up on your views, no matter how quirky they may be.
While it is easy to sit back and point at this as a new feature of the internet that is causing so many problems in the world, it is harder for each of us to be told, and to realise, that we are only listening to people that we agree with, or think like, in more day to day aspects of our lives.
Admittedly, the decision by the kings of Judah and Israel to wage war on Ramoth-Gilead is not a day to day matter, but the reaction of the King of Israel when he is forced to admit that there is a prophet who doesn’t agree with the king, is one I think we can all recognise:
“There is still one other by whom we may inquire of the Lord, Micaiah son of Imlah; but I hate him, for he never prophesies anything favourable about me, but only disaster.”
Whether it as at home, work, or in the Church, how often do we have that same mindset when we are asked to speak to, or take advice from those who we feel only ever disparage us, or pour cold water on our plans? That resentment can so often lead to an entrenchment of our feelings, and a closing of our heart and mind to the voice of wisdom from others.
Wisdom doesn’t always agree with us - and we so often don’t welcome wisdom.
It is a challenge to welcome into our worldview voices of the other - the one who isn’t like us, and doesn’t think like us. This isn’t a plea for us to take seriously those corners of the internet full of conspiracy theories, but a call to take the words of Paul seriously:
“Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God”
To welcome one another for the glory of God means that each of us need to take the concerns, opinions, and point of view of others seriously. To have someone like Micaiah in our lives is not to have someone who challenges our existence, or our authority, but it is to have another view on what is a complicated world. It is to have a companion in Christ who helps us see that perhaps not everything revolves around ourselves and what we think.
This challenge comes hits home in Advent, as we wait for the migrant baby to be-with-us, and to turn our thinking about what it means to be human on its head, and shows us finally what it means to live in harmony with one another.