RCL C Proper 4 Complementary
I Kings 8:22-23 and 41-43, Psalm 96:1-9, Galatians 1:1-12, Saint Luke 7:1-10

We begin today the long stretch of “Green” Sundays. From now until Advent Sunday on November 27 our color is Green, and we shall concentrate our focus on the ministry of Jesus as proclaimed in the Gospel of Saint Luke. We shall work our way from Chapter 7 through Chapter 23.

And this “Green” season is the time of year that the Old Testament Readings complement or parallel the themes of the Gospel. Usually I shall be exploring that connection and relating that connection to our lives.

And so it is today. Solomon, about ten centuries before Christ, spreads out his hands to heaven and prays, “when a foreigner comes and prays toward this house, then hear in heaven your dwelling place, and do according to all that the foreigner calls to you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you.”[1]

Ten centuries later, a centurion asks Jesus to heal a slave, ill and close to death. A centurion is a Roman soldier, a foreigner, a Gentile, not of any tribe of Israel. The centurion professes his faith that Jesus can cure the slave, and Jesus remarks, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.”[2]

And what is God revealing to us in giving us these two lessons today? There are many, many ways to answer that question, but for today I want to ask you to think of the centurion. We are meant to identify with him. He’s an outsider. He has faith. And his faith begets the healing of the slave.

God is revealing to us the way God is. The thing that matters more than anything else is faith. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are available to everyone. Ours is not an exclusive religion. God answers the prayers of the faithful, whoever they are, wherever they come from, and whatever they have done. That’s good news.

If we feel estranged from God, we need to own our responsibility for that feeling. God wants a relationship with each of us—whoever we are, wherever we come from, and whatever we have done. We have only to seek the Lord faithfully.

[1] I Kings 8:42-43.

[2] Saint Luke 7:9.