Week of Epiphany 1, Year One[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]
Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:
Psalms 16, 17 (morning) // 22 (evening)
Sometimes it’s just too easy to pick on previous generations for prejudices they held that seem silly today. Of course, in previous generations or in other contexts, many of those prejudices resulted in (or continue to produce) experiences of true animosity or painful exclusion. Although it strikes me as almost laughable to believe that Italian-Americans eat cats or that girls shouldn’t join marching bands, I don’t mean to downplay the harmful or painful consequences of those beliefs. (Those are real examples of prejudices held by earlier generations in my extended family, by the way.)
Today’s second reading shows us that an important part of the spiritual life is learning to see beyond the narrow prejudices and patterns of exclusion in former generations. The task is not so much to blame our ancestors, but to keep up with the Spirit’s pace of revelation. Our job is to open ourselves to the Spirit and to see beyond the prejudices of our generations, cultures, and contexts.
As our passage from the letter to the Ephesians says, “In former generations this mystery was not made known to humankind, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that is, the Gentiles have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”
Although former generations from one cultural perspective did not recognize Gentiles as God’s people, the passage explains that the Spirit is now asking them to see the Gentiles as “members of the same body.” How can we, in our day, open ourselves to the Spirit that liberates us from the prejudices and exclusions of former generations? Pray that the Spirit opens our hearts and minds to this revelation today.
Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.