11 Jan 2018
Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Aladdin. And his job was to polish oil lamps. Well, one day he was polishing a lamp…and a magical genie came out of it. And Genie told Aladdin, “Whatever you wish, I will do it for you.” And so, Aladdin made many, many wishes and Genie made them all come true. (You’ve probably heard that story before.)
Well, that’s sort of like our Scripture readings today. The Hebrews had the Ark of the Covenant—the chest that they carried around the Ten Commandments in. And the Ark had done many wonderful, powerful things for them. And that’s why they decided to take it into battle with them; they wanted the Ark to give them victory over the Philistines, who were fighting them.
And the story of Aladdin and the lamp is also like our gospel reading. People heard that Jesus was doing many wonderful, powerful things. He was healing people, driving away demons, making the blind see and the lame walk. And so people came to him from all over to see him; they wanted him to heal them, and to make their lives better.
So people were treating Jesus and the Ark of the Covenant like Aladdin was treating his magic lamp. They were expecting God to be like Genie. The problem was that God isn’t Genie. And so, when the Hebrews lost the battle, when Jesus started to let people down because they didn’t get what they wanted…they stopped believing.
But, you know, the story of Aladdin and Genie has a happy ending. In the end, Aladdin says, “Genie, my final wish is that I want you to be free.” And so, from that day, Genie wasn’t a slave anymore to Aladdin; instead, he became Aladdin’s friend.
And our own story with God can have a happy ending (or beginning) too! God isn’t Genie; God isn’t our slave, to do whatever we want; God is our friend. We can let God be free, to do and to live as he wishes. And we set him free by saying those wonderful words we say all the time: “Thy Kingdom come, thy Will be done!”