St Matthias

‘His office let another take.’ (Acts 1: 20)

* * *

Today we remember the ‘calling’ of the apostle Matthias, who took Judas’ place with the eleven following the Ascension. Normally, I would not reckon that drawing lots was a good way to choose a church leader. How do we know it was the Spirit choosing? How do we know?

I spend a considerable amount of time thinking about that question. My theology students ask it, often, and in a variety of different ways. I wonder about it myself: I have a daughter with Down Syndrome and have walked a pretty crooked and uneven road. How do I know that God has anything to do with any of this muddle? I wonder how what I believe is of any real help–how does Jesus help the mother who lost a son a couple of weeks ago in a cold, swollen, and muddy river? How do we know that Jesus is still around? How do we know that the Spirit still works through actions as random as drawing lots?

Sometimes it doesn’t seem to make a lot of difference. And today I don’t have any answers. I just have this bizarre story about the apostles drawing lots. All my teaching about God doesn’t seem to have gotten me very far: I still don’t get it. At the end of the day I am just as short of theodicy as anyone else.

I guess some days are like that. Might as well just say so.

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