“But there was a man named Simon who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the nation of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great. They all gave heed to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, ‘This man is that power of God which is called Great.’ And they gave heed to him, because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic. But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” (Acts 8: 9-12)
So the nation of Samaria was all impressed with Simon, its little local hero, until the Apostle Philip came from outside this “nation,” and opened its eyes to a better and broader vision; to the “good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ.” This small-town, maleducated obsession with Simon, before Philip arrived, if you might consider this awkward analogy, reminds me of the obsession with our nation’s politics and politicians, prevalent amongst our people today, as if all “meaning” in life was to be found or established in the limited space of the particular, national "greats" in our politics. And on this point I’d agree with Camille Paglia, the prominent social critic in American academia (as I’ve been reading her recent book, “Free Women, Free Men”), that our maleducation in the broader spheres of religion and culture has led to our misdirected focus on our national politics.
But as far as the above-quoted reading goes, I’ll note (as Camille Paglia does not, because she is an atheist), that it is the apostolic message “about the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ” that truly expands our horizons, and liberates us from a burdensome and limiting obsession with politics. Let me re-focus today, on the name of Jesus Christ and His death-trampling Kingdom, even as I’m exposed to the goings-on in our politics, in the news. I’m privy to a better and broader vision, as a citizen of the Kingdom of God, and have its “good news” both to internalize and to pass on, as my primary purpose. Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!