Kevin’s lesson for Sunday November 7
We don’t often think of Jesus having an occupation. He certainly was not wealthy. As he stated, “foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20).
But if we play Bible trivia, and are asked what Jesus’ occupation was, the most likely answer is carpenter. (Mark 6:3).
I suggest that Jesus had a more informal occupation – as a weaver. Not as one who worked with textiles or cloth, but as one who helped bring people together. This idea of bringing people together, whether based on the ideas of Jesus or otherwise, is gaining currency.
The Aspen Institute is a well-known “think tank” operating in Aspen, Colorado. One of its current projects is called the Weave Project. According to the Weave Project:
We have a crisis of connection in this country. People feel isolated, unseen and in warring camps. Social distrust and isolation underlie our most pressing problems, from continuing racial and economic injustice to political gridlock, an epidemic of loneliness and rising deaths from suicide and drugs. Distrust keeps us from tackling issues like poverty, homelessness, hunger and climate change. Weave supports the many Americans in every community who are working to create social trust and weave neighbors together to strengthen their communities.
The project further defines the work this way:
Weaving is a way of life and a state of mind, not a set of actions. It’s about the spirit of caring you bring to each interaction with someone else. It’s a willingness to be open and loving, whether you get anything in return. As humans, we long for honest, deep connection. Weavers make the effort to build those connections and make others feel valued.
- A weaver views their community as home and tries to make it loving and welcoming
- A weaver treats neighbors as family regardless of outward differences
- A weaver finds meaning and joy in connection and caring for others
Finally, David Brooks, author of many books on how people can and should work together, spent time traveling around the country interviewing people in communities who were simply helping one another and their own community good. He states, “I’ve become so impatient with the politicians I cover! They are so self-absorbed! Social scientists tell us that selfishness is natural, people are motivated by money, power and status. But Weavers are not motivated by any of these things. They want to live in right relation with others and to serve the community good.”
All of this is good work. But it is not original. It is founded deeply in the teachings of Jesus. Consider this passage from Mark 12:28-34:
And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.” (For parallel passages see Matthew 22:37-38 and Luke 10:25-28, the preface to the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:29-37).
These statements may seem counter to other statements by Jesus where he talked about “dividing people,” but that was in reference to loyalty to him above others. See Matthew 10:34-39).
We no doubt live in a very divided world. But the challenge Jesus gives us is to become “weavers.” For our discussion, let’s think about how we can live out the concept of being of a weaver, and of fulfilling the first and second commandments above.