We read from the Sermon on the Plain from Chapter 6 of Saint Luke’s Gospel at the Eucharist this evening. The teaching style of Jesus is very rabbinical.
Last Sunday evening at our Taize Worship we read a piece of rabbinical teaching called ‘The Dawn’. It was provided by William Parnell who leads the Taize group from Saint Jude’s Church in Templeogue.
‘The rabbis tell a story about a teacher who asks his students about the dawning of true light.
‘When can you tell when day is breaking?’ he asks.
One student suggests that it’s when you look down the road and you see an animal, and there is enough light to tell whether it is a fox or a dog.
‘No’, insists the rabbi, ‘that’s not the right answer’.
Another student ventures to answer the question. ‘It’s when you look at an orchard and you can tell the difference between an apple and a pear tree’.
The rabbi shakes his head, and the students in frustration say, ‘Tell us, when can you tell when the day has dawned’.
The rabbi replies, ‘the day breaks when you look at a man or a woman and you know that he or she is your brother or sister. Until you can do that, no matter what time of day it is, it is always the night.’
I think Jesus would have agreed with that story.