You are here

Lenten Devotional: Monday, February 26
"Already and Not Yet" - Andover Newton's Lenten Devotional Series

"Already and Not Yet" is the 2018 Lenten Daily Devotional written by members of the Andover Newton community, which is also being shared at Facebook and on Twitter. Future posts here will include links to all the previous entries for easy browsing to any you might have missed or might want to revisit.

Monday, Feb. 26, 2018
“The Good News from Nazareth” – Margaret Boles-Fitzgerald

“We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Phillip said, “Come and see!” – John 1:45-46

Small towns, rural counties – and the people who dwell in them – often get a bad rap. There’s an illiberal thinking that people who are born, live in, or come from such “backwaters” are lacking smart schooling intelligence, sophistication ... academic and cultural worldliness and refinement.

In a 2000-year span, from the Nazareth of the Bible – Jesus’ hometown for 30 years (noted derisively in this verse from the Book of John) – to The Band’s 1968 iconic song, “The Weight,” where Nazareth (PA) presents itself as a hodgepodge of characters and unformed hospitality, there is a narrative of diminution that melds small town places and people into an unfair proverb: Nothing or no one good or important or worldly wise could possibly spring from such marginal territories.

For those of us born into or having worked our way to a place of relative “privilege,” we must be mindful of the tendency to cling to presumptions of greater self-importance. The Biblical narrative is a constant sneak attack on our carefully curated and protected sensibilities. It upends those very presumptions of pecking orders, and sends its prophets, angels, and even our Savior onto center stage – bringing ballast to stage left and right.

Much as Jesus came from what was considered a good-for-nothing small city, that his disciples were a dirty dozen group of unlikelies, and that he spoke out (often and emphatically) against the hypocrisy that was actually thinly veiled condescension, so too are we commanded to take note of those who live outside our comfort zones; we are commanded to consider what remarkable gifts they might have to share with and teach us – and the world. The divine does not discriminate; the sacred is available to all.

At this time of Lent when we reimagine and stumble towards our better selves, let us answer God’s extravagant invitation to come and see: Come and lay down any loads of world-wariness and weariness; open our hearts to the surprising messengers whom God has placed in our paths to disrupt our definition of “us” and “others.”

Margaret Boles Fitzgerald is an Andover Newton trustee and chair of the Board of Directors for the Henry Luce Foundation.

Previous Reflections

Visiting for the first time? Please introduce your self here | Enrolled Student or alum? Please check the Community Login above and enter your given credentials.