by Fletcher Lowe
Adolph Eichmann, one of the Nazi officials who supervised the murder of countless human beings during the Nazi regime, was blinded by a systemic effort to eradicate certain groups of people. God was not a part of his equation.
Unlike Eichmann, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. were each confronted by a system of laws that was unjust, and each had their eyes opened, factoring God into the equation of their lives.
So too with Jesus. He and the Pharisees had an ongoing conflict. One of many contentious occasions (Mark 2:23-3:6) focused on the Sabbath. The Pharisees were guardians of an intricate system of laws governing the Sabbath. To some extent they had reduced the practice of religion to following a set of laws. But here comes Jesus in a bit of civil disobedience, helping his followers glean the grain fields to resolve their hunger. Then Jesus goes on to restore a man’s withered hand. Both events took place on the Sabbath, contrary to Sabbath laws. Unlike the Pharisees, Jesus was not blind to human need – he was factoring his own divinity into the equation of his daily life.
During my ordained life part of my pastoral ministry has been to visit members in their places of work. The conversation begins with what do you do here. Then the second question: What is the faith connection with what you do here, the Sunday-Monday connection? I must tell you that for the vast majority – like 85% – this is the first time that that question has come to their consciousness. What an indictment of the church! For that work place is where they are spending most of their God-given time and ability. After some continuing conversation, most come to an “aha”: Their eyes open and they begin to see that their work – as a contract lawyer or a mortgage broker or a governmental official or a homemaker – is indeed their baptismal ministry. The “aha” comes as they factor God into the equation of their daily life and work.
The question is the same for each of us – for you and for me: How do we, as the Baptized, factor God into the equation of our daily lives?