Here are my thoughts for the back page of the July 8, 2018 (7th Sunday after Pentecost, Year B) Fishkill United Methodist Church.
In my momma’s hometown of Lexington, NC, I am known as “Virginia’s oldest boy.” Around Memphis, I am Bob Mitchell’s “other son” and Terry Mitchell, Tim Mitchell, and Tracey Rock’s older brother.
I don’t think that there is any one of us who hasn’t experience that sort of comparison at least once in our life. Until we establish ourselves, we will always be someone’s son, daughter, brother, or sister. And as parents, we want our children to have their own identities rather than to be subsets of ours.
I am pretty sure that Mary and Joseph felt pride in hearing the compliments of the people of Nazareth and they must have cried at the treatment of their son. And while the people of Nazareth were duly impressed by Jesus’ knowledge, he was still a carpenter’s son and what can you expect?
The same must be said for the “Twelve”. Four were fisherman, two were known troublemakers, one was an employee of the Roman government; in fact, only one of the “Twelve: had any sort of academic background. So, their friends, neighbors, and families probably worried about them hanging around with Jesus. Each of the “Twelve” may very well have been shunned in a manner like Jesus.
But they understood that Jesus was more than the carpenter’s son from Nazareth. They knew something special was happening. And when they were sent out, they went with joy because they knew they were going to make a difference.
We carry the name of Christ, we go out into the world as Christians. We heal the sick, feed the hungry, and free the oppressed in the name of Jesus. We do so because God loved us enough to send His Son.
What’s in a name? When it is the name of Christ, it is love.
~~ Dr. Anthony Lee Gordon Mitchell (that’s who I am).