the visionary

Great stories are often known for their punch lines. Others, including many inspiring scripture passages, are easily recalled in full on hearing just the opening few words: “In the beginning…” or  “a sower went out to sow” or again today’s first reading: Jacob (Israel) had a colourful coat with long sleeves made for his favoured son Joseph…

And we immediately recall Joseph…and his amazing technicolour dreamcoat.

Joseph was a dreamer of dreams, a man of vision who could see beyond what was, to what could be. This healthy trait, evident in him when he was a a young boy, endeared him to his father inciting jealousy in his older brothers who sold him into slavery.

And so the visionary the community most needed, was rejected, leading his brothers to initially plan “let us kill him, then we shall see what becomes of his dreams.”

Jesus tells a similar story of the landowner who becomes a victim of his tenants’ jealousy. When he finishes recounting his parable Jesus concludes by quoting Psalm 118: “It was the stone rejected by the builders that became the cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing and it is wonderful to see.” Psalm 118.

Jesus takes a reality that we can relate to, the good person, the dreamer of dreams who values integrity and is unafraid to share the vision, becoming the victim of the persecution of others.

To conclude his parable Jesus quotes the psalm he would have often prayed from the heart and which gives virtuous suffering an honourable outcome: “The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone”. Psalm 118

This pattern is repeated throughout history and in our own time those who stand for truth, goodness, beauty, integrity and justice are often rejected.

In time, but usually not in their own lifetime, these visionaries are hailed as prophets and their dreams become a reality.

An Invitation

  • Take half an hour with your children or grandchildren to watch this animated account of the great Joseph story at this link.
  • Take confidence today knowing that if you are feel persecuted for seeking to live in relationship with Jesus Christ, you are on the right road.
  • Take two minutes to respond to the Muslim call to prayer throughout New Zealand at 1.30pm this afternoon. The call is pronounced in Arabic and contains these shared Muslim and Christian confessions and invitations:
    “God is the greatest”

    “I acknowledge there are no other gods but the One God”
    “Come to prayer”
    “Come to salvation”
    “God is the greatest”
    “There are no other gods but the One God”
7 Responses to "the visionary"
  1. All the way from Denver, Colorado in the US of A…thank you for your needed thoughts as we all navigate our lives where we are currently planted. I welcome your next thoughts.

  2. Thank you Father your thoughts and words your thoughts always stay with me during the day love and God bless Amen valda

  3. How good it is to be reminded of scriptures and readings that are so familiar but your words provide us with that extra depth in seeking meaning to those stories and parables from Jesus. Thank you Father John.

  4. Such a beautiful prayer. I would love to be so disciplined to be able to make time to pray this 5 times a day.
    Just shared a flight to Auckland with a beautiful young man who had come down to Christchurch for his cousins funeral. My heart breaks for the families left behind.
    God bless New Zealand

  5. As much as I respect and admire our Muslim brothers and sisters piety and courage in the face of such hatred, I’m not sure that its appropriate that we as Christians can really respond to the Islamic call to prayer as you suggest. In particular the Islamic proclamation that “There are no other gods but the One God” refers to their concept not of a triune God, but rather God that is “neither begotten nor begot”. Whereas for Christians, God has one “begotten” Son (but not “created”, since that would imply that Jesus is not God). Born of the Father before all ages. Therefore it’s not an fair representation of our credo to suggest that Muslims and Christians share the same concept of God; the overlap is merely partial. Muslims are welcome to practice their faith in this country, but the inspiration I take is how *clearly* Muslims understand and profess their faith; as Christians we are obliged to do likewise.

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