Friday, 8 April 2011

Guilty....

Gospel John 7:1-2,10,25-30 



Jesus stayed in Galilee; he could not stay in Judaea, because the Jews were out to kill him.


As the Jewish feast of Tabernacles drew near, However, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went up as well, but quite privately, without drawing attention to himself. Meanwhile some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, ‘Isn’t this the man they want to kill? And here he is, speaking freely, and they have nothing to say to him! Can it be true the authorities have made up their minds that he is the Christ? Yet we all know where he comes from, but when the Christ appears no one will know where he comes from.


Then, as Jesus taught in the Temple, he cried out:


‘Yes, you know me
and you know where I came from.
Yet I have not come of myself:
no, there is one who sent me
and I really come from him,
and you do not know him,
but I know him because I have come from him
and it was he who sent me.’


They would have arrested him then, but because his time had not yet come no one laid a hand on him.

By this time it seems that the powers that be have made their minds up about Jesus- he has become a bad influence; he has tried to subvert the whole understanding of the Law; he has publicly questioned the authority of the Temple and yet there are those who are wondering if this outspoken, uncomfortable, charismatic man from nowhere could be the Christ, the Messiah; the saviour of the Jews. This will never do.

Almighty and all powerful yet Jesus has not been using power in the right way. In fact he revels in his powerlessness. He has not come from 'on high' but from 'down low' - and has stayed there. There has been no movement towards rebellion or aggression towards the Romans; he is no zealot; no champion - his message is all wrong.

This message is all wrong - Jesus stands in the Temple, at risk from arrest or assassination,  and tells them that 'yes, I am the Christ; I am from God; I am who you think I am and I know that you are never going to accept it because YOU don't know God'.

Well that's a bit of a challenge for a religious organisation to deal with. To be told that your understanding of your God is flawed. And yet it is and the scary thing is - that, even for us now with our Christian 'God is Love not Law' outlook, it still is; it always is.

 Because we never know God. God is too big; too wide; too God-ish to make sense.

We often live our faith within the parameters of what we know; understand and are 'prepared' to accept. What if Jesus came to us as a homeless man sitting on a park bench; as a labourer from the wrong end of town; as a refugee hiding in the cargo hold of a tourist bus.

What if he was proclaiming God's desire for  redemption, forgiveness and love for others -no matter what -  from our church steps. What if he was criticising how we live in hypocrisy - saying one thing and doing another; using our sacraments and catechism as limitations and judgements?

Do we think we would leave the comfortable, civilised rites and rituals to listen; to come and see; to follow him or, more likely - send a call out to the local police to move him on?

Or even, in our indignation and outrage - sort him out ourselves?

wordinthehand2011


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