Fingerprints - October 15, 2017
Back in 1892, I’m told, an Argentine woman called Francesca found out that her boyfriend did not really like children and decided if she was going to marry him the children had to be disposed of! She not only did that, but she also tried to put the blame on someone else. Don’t knock safeguarding! He, poor chap, got tortured for a while in the ensuing investigation till, thankfully, they found Francesca’s bloody fingerprints on the door handle to the children’s bedroom door. It was the first time fingerprints had been used in a court case.
125 years later, it’s been announced that new fingerprint technology (combining fingerprint analysis with mass spectrometry) will soon be able to tell you much more than who was at the scene of the crime. It will be able to tell you something of the person’s lifestyle, whether they were using drugs or alcohol, even what shampoo they were using and what they had recently had to eat.
One of the fascinating things about Jesus was the way he told stories. People listened because there was something unusual about them - they had God’s fingerprints plastered all over them. There was the king who prepared a wedding feast for his son, but when the feast was ready no-one came. Servants sent to chivvy the guests along got beaten up or killed. The king was angry, had his soldiers mete out some (perhaps extravagant) kind of justice, then had his servants invite instead anyone they could find on the streets. The wedding hall was soon full.
The king of course is God and his prints are everywhere - in his passion, his love for his son, his justice, his determination, in his desire to bring into the celebration people you would never have imagined. These stories tell you more about God than you might think. One guest wandered in not wearing the right clothes. He couldn’t see what God was up to, and rather like Francesca in 1892, he didn’t get away with it.
Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.
Lord, I would never have thought you could tell so much from one fingerprint. Thank you for what we can read from them. Thank you too for Jesus’ stories, for the fingerprints you have left, and what they tell us about you. Amen.