We all have an affinity for those who are most like us. When it leads us to dismiss or discriminate against those who are not like us, it becomes a big problem.
Nathanael’s statement “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” falls into the problem category. He is ready to ignore Jesus simply because of where Jesus had lived.
I grew up in a small town. Every small town has a “next town over” where the residents aren’t as good looking, smart or friendly. As I grew up, I realized that though this idea showed up everywhere, it wasn’t true! How many great friendships and how much co-operation has been missed because of our ability to wall off those who are different?
Jesus was from Nazareth, but his message wasn’t just for his neighbours. He makes a point of reminding us we are all neighbours and equal in the sight of God. We must always remember God calls us to be light for the world, not just the part of the world we identify with most easily.
God, bless me with openness and kindness to those who are different than me. Remind me everyone is a child of God, worthy of love and respect. Amen. — BM