Invisible Society

The 24th Sunday after Pentecost
Year B - Proper 27
Mark 12:38-44

I'm writing to you from a small community between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv - in the Elah Valley where, according to tradition, David fought Goliath and knocked him down with his slingshot.  I am conscious of having spent the last ten days here in Israel walking with ghosts - of Prophets, Kings and Patriarchs, of Crusaders and Apostles, of Mameluke and Ottoman Turks, of concentration camp survivors and displaced Arab villagers - Kibbutzniks, soldiers and refugees - as well as the enormous crowd of pilgrims of various faith traditions for whom this land is of particular importance.  

They're all here with their competing claims, their tumbled stones and their broken crockery.  

Remembering can be exhausting.

The official record (from the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament as well as the historical records of nations past and present) contains the stories of the great and the good.  If we paid attention in Sunday School and in our first year university survey courses in history we might rattle off their names: Saul and Ahab, David and King Josiah, Tiglath-Pileser, Suleiman the Magnificent, Salladin, General Allenby, Golda Meir. 

Few, if any, of the folks reading the "Weekly Bob" this week will find themselves numbered amongst such personages.  We will more likely resemble the poor widow placing her mite - her small bronze coin - into the offering plate as recorded in this week's Gospel reading.  We are the "overlooked" when it comes to historical records.  We are, however, the warp and woof of our societies and of our families.  We press the wine and cultivate our several olive orchards.  We lived in these stones houses. When we grew old our counsel was sought after.  

Society, like all good things - love, community, sacrifice, loyalty, friendship and faithfulness - is mostly invisible.  It never shows up in the historical record. Without it, however, there simply is no history.  Looking forward to being back in the saddle.  We'll see you on Sunday.



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