Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “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?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” John 1:43-51
This reading was designated for Thursday Morning Prayer as well as the Gospel for today. At first, I wasn't going to write again, but in light of recent statements by our "leader", I think it is critical to reflect some more on this passage. We have both a lesson about call and a lesson of where God dwells. We have much to learn in this land of ours, especially on the anniversary of the martyrdom of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Nathanael speaks of Nazareth as a ****hole town, a place thought to be of no value, no consequence, useless and backward in every way. He questions his friend Philip as to the value of this man who was a "supposed" messiah. Nathanael voices what his whole world thought. And yet, this is where God incarnate dwells, in the places where no one would look or expect. In the ruined and crime torn places, God incarnate dwells, and see us under the protection of our fig trees, thinking our cruel thoughts. We are invited today, in this season to know that God calls all people and places good, and holy. From the humblest of places, the voice of God came and is to come.
Today, I ask God to help me disregard no one or no place but seek the holy in every moment in every person. May we know God as we are in relationship with those most different from us. And may we welcome, with the love we have been given, all those who come to our communities for help and sanctuary.