Opinion polls tell us that the public’s view of Congress in the United States is at an all-time low. The division between the parties has led to gridlock on legislation and affected the way most citizens view the work of government. Even the often benighted car salesman gets a much better performance review in public polling, racking up double-digit approval rating over the collective view of members of Congress. Yet for the most part constituents re-elect their own Representatives and Senators again and again. This is a situation that many commentators attribute to the redistricting process that has made many districts “safe” for incumbents by configuring the boundaries in such a way that only the most like-minded residents are constituents for a seat held by one party of the other.
There was no Gallup poll in Galilee in Jesus’ time. But Mark’s Gospel this weekend gives us a pretty clear indication of what his fellow townsfolk thought of him. Instead of a hero’s welcome as “the kid that made good” he is treated as “the kid who has gotten too big for his britches”. The townspeople’s lack of faith actually impacted the ability of Jesus to be the mighty prophet in His native place. Mark writes: “He was not able to perform any mighty deed there.”
The Gospel story is not about the importance of good poll numbers . Politicians are concerned about that-at least if they want to get re-elected. Rather, the story is about the dynamic of faith in our relationship with God. We often “want” a lot of things from God, most notably answers to our prayers. But we need to “give” to the Lord, and for us that means a response to God’s invitation to believe. We must acknowledge our utter dependence upon God, placing all our trust in Him. We will then recognize the actions of God that take place each day for the mighty deeds that they are: God at work in our hearts!