There's no accounting for happiness,...
It comes to the monk in his cell.
It comes to the woman sweeping the street
with a birch broom, to the child
whose mother has passed out from drink.
Many people will come from everywhere to enjoy the feast in the kingdom of heaven with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (Matthew 8 v.11)
Many and everywhere
You get used to thinking of few and not of many, of somewhere as opposed to everywhere. These words then are a jolt, if the pace or our reading slows enough to register the words. The terms ‘elect’ and ‘remnant are common formative currency. Maybe they act in the same way that cold water splashed on your face brings you round. Many are called and few are chosen says Jesus in his parable of the wedding banquet.
An accessible reality
Let’s for a moment dwell on the many and the everywhere. Here an example is given to us, an army officer, a fighting Roman soldier, not a Jew. He knows something, has received something and it is attested to by Jesus. The truth that those outside of the faith can and do walk with, and into, a gradually widening revelation of the Divine may elicit surprise or suspicion, but also, surely, hope. Wisdom and general revelation is offered by a generous and ‘worldly’ God. The openness of the kingdom along with its earthy origins, ‘Abraham, Isaac and Jacob’ combine to describe an accessible, personable and immediate reality.
I wonder how many of those on the edges of, and beyond, our faith communities are actually of faith and whether their authenticity is attested to and deepened by contact with those of us within faith communities.