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  • Writer's pictureSteven Marsh

Boxes: a Reflection on Psalm 128, Isaiah 44:6-8, 21-23, Ephesians 4:1-16, and Mark 3:7-19a

The front page of USA Today on January 19 said it all. Front and center was the “Super Bowl Faceoff” article. But, to their credit, the Publishers had the header MLK. Yet, I wonder what occupied more think time, water cooler conversation, and chat room discussions; MLK and his importance for who we are becoming as a country or pools getting set up for the big game?

The boxes in which we package life. We all have many boxes; religious, entertainment, family, leisure, beliefs, and values to name a few. The boxes are endless. We think the boxes help us explain life. What I find in my experience is that boxes imprison in that they take all my attention to manage, suppress, broker, and sustain.

The psalmist states that human will be most happy when he/she respects God. Many are wired for it and others have no interest. And yet all of us stand on the border between the knowable and unknowable. I find the writings of philosopher John Caputo helpful. He unpacks the boxes in their modern and postmodern articulations.

God says “I am the first and the last and besides me there is no god.” What does that mean in our post-modern setting where absolutes do not exist and how anyone knows anything is questioned? It is an exciting milieu in which to sort through the gods which vie for our attention. All of us are on a journey for meaning.

Asking the tough questions with gentleness and humility is deemed acceptable; virtuous from my perspective.

Jesus yearned for a quiet space away from the crowds. I need that…want that. The pressure of the boxes is relentless. MLK advocated justice and equality for all people. The Super Bowl will happen and soon be forgotten. Discrimination persists and some humans feel less than human. As one person, I took much more pleasure in reflecting on MLK than the Seattle/New England match up.

My prayer is for unity to trump the boxes. All of us need to be set free from the boxes in which we are managed.

Scripture readings are taken from the two-year daily lectionary cycle which follows the liturgical calendar and begins on the First Sunday of Advent.

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