“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and pure/unmixed (ἀκέραιοι) as doves. Beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.” (Mt 10: 16-22)

In popular culture, faithful Christians are often viewed as a naïve bunch, blindly following hypocritical (church-)leaders and flowery ideologies of “family values” and “world peace.” But if one actually reads the Gospels, one discovers quite a different picture. In the passage quoted above, for example, our Lord warns us to “beware of men,” – not only political authorities like “governors and kings,” but also religious authorities “in the synagogues,” and even close relatives like a “brother” or “father” or our own “children.”

Today I’m reminded that as a Christian, I’m not bound by any merely-human “ideology“ or (co)dependency. Even while I have my God-given “place,“ in this world, as a member of a specific family, profession, Church, nation, and circle of friends, in all my personal, professional, ecclesial, and political responsibilities I am called to rely on “the Spirit of our Father“ for guidance. It is only to Him that I entirely “belong,“ and it is a dependency on Him that frees me from various forms of human bondage; of the self, of familial (co)dependencies, or of “ideology.“ O Heavenly King, come and abide in us today, and save our souls, O Good One!