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  • Writer's pictureAllison Wilcox

Can anything good come out of...

The next day 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.” ~ John 1:43-51




Can anything good come out of Gaza?


Or El Salvador?


Or Mexico?


Or Haiti?


Or the continent of Africa?


...Or Nazareth?


For Phillip, who hailed from Bethsaida, clearly his hometown was a standout compared to the backwater town of Nazareth.


"Can anything good come out of Nazareth" he asked Nathanael, when the other man tells him about this amazing itinerant preacher from that neck of the woods. Nathanael gushed about this Jesus. Moses in the law as well as the prophets all foretold him. Nathanael was convinced of this. Something good had come out of Nazareth.


And Nathanael told Phillip to come and see just what that was.


Something - someone - life changing had come out of Nazareth.


I've not been to Gaza, but I see how they are viewed by many parts of the world right now especially. I haven't been to El Salvador or Haiti, but I have been to Mexico and to Africa - to the country of Tanzania. And I've seen all the good that comes from there. I've seen the beauty of the land and its people. I've seen rich lives even among the poorest. (this picture is of me with some of the beautiful people of Tanzania).


So much good from a place that I feel so fortunate to have seen.


Someone said to me, "Come and see." And so I went.


I have an aunt who lives in Mexico who will spend hours telling you of the wonders there. I know someone who has been to Haiti and loves it and its people deeply.


I remember the 80s and the terror that people from El Salvador faced from a Civil War that tore them apart. And when someone might ask "Can anything good come out of El Salvador," I can begin with "Oscar Romero" and go from there.


We live in a time where White Christian Nationalism is rearing its frightening head and countries are being segregated into worthwhile or shitholes. I don't like to use profanity in my blogging, but that's the word that was used once by a person who is again running for President.


Glossing over it isn't helpful.


Say that word to yourself. Say it aloud. If it isn't one you like saying or hearing, then ask yourself, is it something that should be used about such beautiful countries from which springs such beautiful people? 


Can anything good come out of Haiti? Or El Salvador? Or Tanzania? Or Iran? Or Syria? Or North Korea?


Yes.


Can anything bad come out of Norway? Or Germany? Or England? Or the United States of America?


Yes.


Something good came out of a forgotten little no-nothing town two millennia ago. And so to imagine that there is a distinction based on the nationalistic, racist ideas that many in our modern empire espouse is to forget that God so loved this whole entire world - the cosmos. Not one place more than any other.


Not America more than Gaza. Or Mexico. Or Haiti. Or Tanzania. Or El Salvador. Or Syria. Or Iran...etc, etc.


And if you aren't certain of that, then go and see what beauty there is to behold in all those places that you might least expect it.



Lord, remind me daily that we are all your children, and help me to stand up for those who get marginalized as "less than" because of where they are from. Amen





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