Devotion 6 - 11 Nov 2012

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Luke 7:22 - “…the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them.

The God of the Nameless

In recent weeks I have been increasingly moved by the thought that our eternally gracious and loving God is – in a special sense – the God of those who lack position, prestige and are altogether looked over by society at large.



We live in a world that places a premium on fortune and fame. Being popular is what our children strive for, being well-known is what many adults strive for, dreams of fame and fortune captivate our imagination and in many cases spur us on. It even determines our perception of what is news-worthy, for example: a regular father of two and faithful husband to his wife is fighting a desperate battle with motor neuron disease and very few take notice, however, when a famous (even disgraced) former rugby star is diagnosed with the same illness it suddenly becomes a matter of international interest. Why? Because we know his name, we can recognize his face in a sea of others – he is well-known, i.e. famous.



Now I’m no psychologist so I’d rather not attempt to explain why humanity has such an infatuation with those who are famous, why we are so obsessed with the need to be famous. But I am a human being, and the simple humanity I share with billions of other people around the globe reminds me that the vast majority of us will never know fame (at least not the kind made known in tabloids and newspapers).



Thankfully though, I don’t believe God spends much time reading tabloids and newspapers! And this brings me to the point of our reflection for today; In God’s economy of love there is very little value vested in fame – it’s just not that important. God doesn't care if we’re known and recognized by millions or by ten. He recognizes each one of us and that is perhaps the single most important observation to make in this regard.



God is – in a special sense – the God of those who lack position, prestige and altogether looked over by society because he doesn't really care if we’re famous or liked or recognizable. In fact, when we read the Scriptures we notice that God has a peculiar habit of paying careful attention to the un-known, not-at-all-famous, relatively nameless person in the crowd.



When we read the Gospel of John, for example; we see the scarlet woman who can’t seem to keep a husband; she’s nameless (chapter 4). The long-suffering cripple who lived as a burden to society for 38 years; he’s nameless (chapter 5). The blind man who had been born with his affliction, he too remains nameless (chapter 9). Then also in Luke’s Gospel, where the poor and weak enjoy a special prominence, the most well-known nameless person of all appears – the penitent thief on the cross next to Jesus, he too remains nameless. All these nameless people who occupied such a special place in the heart and ministry of Jesus; nameless people whom you and I know so well, even though we can never call them by name, nameless people who were as forgotten and neglected in their own world as they would be today.



But Jesus reminds us through his actions that he is particularly concerned for the forgotten, the neglected, the overlooked… the nameless. Oh if only we would share his compassion and become more aware of the countless nameless people we walk past every day, the nameless colleague at work, the nameless stranger sitting by the lamp-post asking for some pity, the nameless neighbour we've lived next-door to for 12 years. So many nameless people who need to be noticed and acknowledged and just simply greeted, oh that we would treat them as Jesus did the nameless of his own day.



Perhaps today we can make a special effort to acknowledge and notice just one nameless person who we've often overlooked? Imagine the difference we can make in their lives! Let us learn from Jesus and pay careful attention to the nameless people we meet today. AMEN



“…the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them.”
-- Luke 7:22