plot concocting

Feb 28, 2024

..

‘Come on,’ they said, ‘let us concoct a plot against Jeremiah;

It was the catchy use of assonance in today’s first reading which appealed to my love of language. But this brief passage from Jeremiah carries a powerful and profound (alliteration now) message which, seven centuries before Christ, foretells the ups and downs of the adventure of Christian faith.

Jeremiah is sometimes called the weeping or reluctant prophet. That may be true but the reason we know of Jeremiah today is that he said yes to God, and kept on saying yes through a five-decade-long ministry, even when his yes was guaranteed to lead him to suffering and even (by most accounts) to death by stoning.

Jeremiah certainly wasn’t naive. He knew what his many enemies were up to: “they are digging a pit for me” – and the “they” here are those he was giving his prayer and his life on behalf of.

So we shouldn’t be too surprised when the same pattern emerges in the gospel:

“Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, and on the way he took the Twelve to one side and said to them, ‘Now we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man is about to be handed over to the chief priests and scribes. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the pagans to be mocked and scourged and crucified; and on the third day he will rise again.’”

We could name this fidelity as a Christian or God-centred commitment. But those who have no knowledge of Christian faith or who have let go of religious practices still admire such a self-less life in others, and strive for this themselves.

They might use words like, integrity, commitment, passion, generosity, faithfulness, honesty, probity, principled, uprightness and love.

It is helpful to take time often to delight in the fact that while many people distance themselves from religious institutions and practices, their life of faith is alive and vibrant since they live with integrity, commitment, passion… and (even if they may have forgotten) it is God whom they are seeking and serving.

The mistake that well-meaning (but misguided) Christians make is to overlook the beauty of our common humanity which unites every human person. When we forget this unity we find it easy to concoct plots preoccupied with who is right, who is wrong, who is in and who is out, who is good and who is bad.

Following the crowd down this track might save ourselves from personal crucifixion, but in our more reflective moments we realise that it is Jesus himself whom we are actively crucifying.

+++

FFF IN THE CAFE… Send your name and the name of a cafe or bar to john@fff.org.nz Scribble FFF on a table napkin, take a seat and wait.

Join these gatherings:

TODAY Wednesday 28 February 2024  10.30am FFF – Zenders Cafe and Venue 44 Hopkins Rd Hamilton 3286.  Christina

Saturday 2 March 2024 10.30am – Muffin Break 235 Main Street, Upper Hutt Central. Teresa

Sunday 3 March 2024 (& every Sunday) 12 noon. St Anthony’s Church, 66 Falkirk Ave, SeatounKim

Monday 4 March 2024  10.00am (& every Monday). Moku Cafe. Bush Inn Centre, Waimairi Road,  Christchurch. Trish

Tuesday 5 March 2024 10.00am 316 Waiwhetu Road (California Garden Centre) Lower Hutt. Catherine

Email me to add another: john@fff.org.nz

2 Comments

  1. I went to see the movie one love (not necessarily an entirely factual account) but I was inspired to consider checking out becoming a Rastafarian.

    Reply
  2. Always inspiring. Thanks John

    Reply

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