Daily Reflection
August 24th, 2007

Jeanne Schuler

Philsophy Department
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The Greatness All Around

Their names, carved in stone, are found in parks and quiet gardens.
Governors, presidents, queens, war dead. Those honored for service and studied in school. Some are heroes whom we call great.

The followers of Jesus were ordinary people. Scripture mentions some only once or twice. Little is known about their lives. But they are remembered as the first who said yes.

The story of Nathanael is attributed to Bartholomew the apostle. His friend Philip was excited. The one hailed by prophets was in their midst. Nathanael listened but had his doubts. What good could come from a paltry place like Nazareth? Still, he left his peaceful spot under the fig tree to follow his friend. When Jesus knew who he was, Nathanael was thrilled. Jesus promised more greatness to come.

Despite our achievements, it is tough to acknowledge greatness. We are experts at detecting flaws. There’s always another story, an ulterior motive, a smear in the background. We read the world back into the self and then get bored by the self draped over everything. Greatness sounds naïve, like someone fresh from the countryside struck by the gleaming city. We educated people see through things until they just fade away.

You call us to greatness. It begins in an ordinary way: trusting a friend, leaving our hiding place, being known, saying yes. The possibilities of being alive return. We venture out into a world suffused with your presence.

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