Biblical Role of the Go(d)-Between • Biblical definition of “mediator”: One who speaks to both, puts himself “in the middle” • Greek krinei ana meson (“middle”), Isa 2:4 LXX.
Definition Continued • One who provides access to a just resolution • … thereby to God’s justice, • … where God’s justice is not a matter of punishment so much as of mercy.
Definition Continued • Paraclete (Holy Spirit) = “Mediator” in role of helper, truth bearer, intervenor (Romans 8), intercessor • “Comforter” is too limited to be sufficient translation. • “Judge” also to restrictive.
Why the Bible? Cultural and legal influence, for example: • Incest (Lev 19) • Abandonment, ancient Rome vs. Bible people • Divorce: Contradiction between Jesus and Moses? Are you prepared to explain basis of, and misconceptions of, divorce and remarriage rules in the denominations, particularly the RCC?
Mediation a Common Expectation • Amos 5:10: the "judges" in the gate hated by the ones who lost. • Gen 31:37: let our kinsmen decide between us (Jacob and Laban, re who stole Laban's gods) • Job 9:33: there is no umpire between us… expectation of mediation as normative. • Lev 19:17 : REALLY TRY to reason with your brother/neighbor. • James 5:15: ordinary people intercede for the sick, expected to do so. • Jesus as human: Luke 10:40, tell my sister to help me…
Examples • God • Sin of the world: • Romans 3:24-26: God creates a covering, a bridge to God • Isaiah 11:34: God mediates between the people and the poor • Job 13:3: Job invokes God as mediator between himself and his “friends.”
Examples #2 • God, continued • Between persons, directly: • Isaiah 2:4; Micah 4:3: God mediates between the peoples of the earth… swords into plowshares • God mediates between Abraham and Sarah on the issue of banishing Hagar and Ishmael, Genesis 21. • Genesis 24:14, 44 re Rebekah: God between Rebekah and Isaac • Using others to do his mediation • King Hezekiah (Isa 36); Isaiah (Isa 37); Jesus, Matthew 18:15-20 gives formula for dispute resolution (out of court!).
Examples #3 • People • Isaiah 36, 37 • Acts 7:26f describes Moses’ attempt to mediate between fighting Israelites • Jesus between Mary and Martha, Luke 10:39-40 • Man to Jesus: “Lord, help my son…” Luke 9:38 and other such passages • The Word mediates between people and God, I Timothy 4:5
How Can the Mediator Use This Information? • Be more aware of universality and timelessness of dispute; insights into systems like families • Develop one’s own spirituality • Find models of mediation
Models of Mediation • “Judging between” • Bestowing mercy upon all alike (be a catalyst; provide opportunity for clients to see they can and want to bestow mercy upon one another) • Being Spirit for them, a God(d)-Between! Make peace possible by calm presence, vulnerable, yet self assured.
The Mediator’s Spirituality • Matthew 18:15-20: you are not alone • Trust the process • Assume more is occurring than you can accomplish humanly and solely by yourself. • …? Suggestions?