Faith from the Margins to the Web Bible Study for Epiphany 2, Year B
Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illumined by your Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory, that he may be known, worshipped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
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.”
Contributing Authors: Mary Ann and Faye
“The part that really stands out to me,” said Mary Ann, “is, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth’. It reminds me of things that people say now. Not about Nazareth, but about other places, like the housing projects, or West Virginia or wherever. People make assumptions about places and all the people who might live there.”
“I know, that always makes me sad,” said Faye. “But then, I have to say, I want to think positive, but sometimes I think there are places that you only hear bad things about so its hard to not start thinking that way.
Faye paused. She read that part of the verse again. “You know, that’s true. I see myself in that.” said Faye. She went on to describe how her daughter married a man from one of the housing projects she felt nothing good could come from. At at that time she felt he, like everyone there was up to no good. And some of that really seemed to be true. But, then in spite of all her reservations, she watched him change after his mother died: “In the beginning, I just couldn’t deal with it and I couldn’t believe my daughter would go out with him, I thought, what could she see in him?! But then I got to know him and things happened. For one, his mother died. And when that happened, he changed.” Faye said, “I know my daughter loves him, and he’s a great father. I realize now that his mother was in a bad way, on drugs and everything. He really did change, though, after she passed. Sometimes you have to give what you can, give a second chance.”
Mary Ann added, “When I hear people say, ‘can’t anything good come out of…whomever it is for them. For some people, it’s homeless people, or a gay person, or a someone with addiction…whatever it is, people want to say nothing good can come from them. But, then I think about what Philip said: Come, and See. In other words, come meet them, break down the barriers, take time for people to meet people who are different than we are.”
“That’s true,” Faye said, “but it’s sad, it’s sometimes so hard for people to talk to people. Like with people who are homeless. When I’m in the park, I make myself say hello. Sometimes I’m scared because I think that it could be me, and I know that I couldn’t survive living that way. I’m lucky, though, because I have family. I could knock on someone’s door if I need to. But I like to try to be on my own, to work hard. I’ve worked at hospitals and nursing homes. The nursing home work was hard; there are some people who are hard to work with or that some of the younger girls who work there would say, ‘Not that one, I don’t want to work with this or that one’ but I’d try to help, to remind them that everyone needs to be taken care of.
“It sounds like when you worked in that nursing home, you were doing a bit of what this Gospel is talking about yourself” said Mary Ann, “reminding them that when they thought nothing good could come from someone, there is still a person there.”
Faye thought about that. She also offered up one last thought:
“I keep thinking about that fig tree,” said Faye. “I think other people need to hear what Jesus says, that he knows us already. We don’t have to hide under a fig tree or anything else. But, honestly, I can see myself sitting under that fig tree, like I do my chair! I just have to remember that there is no need to hide. Jesus knows us.”