The Anglican Parish of St. Mary Magdalene
2950 Laurel St. At W. 14th Ave.
Vancouver, BC, V5Z 3T3
Office hours: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 10:30 am -
Wednesday 7:00 pm
Diocese of New Westminster Anglican Church of Canada
March 17th Lent 2, 2019 John Marsh
I pray you listen…
Perhaps, if we listen, we can hear the voice of a devout, sharp tongued, Jewish troublemaker…
I pray you try…
Occasionally, one comes across lines that have, stirring within, a ring of authenticity…
To the counsel, "Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you." (v.31b), Jesus responds:
"Go and tell that fox for me, 'Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.' Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, 'Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.'" (v. 32-
To be clear, I am not making a literalist’s point…
I am saying the possibility of conflict between Herod and Jesus, that the difference in their worldviews has a ring of authenticity, that the ‘bravado’ of Jesus’ response rings true, that the lament, the prophetic passion for Jerusalem sounds a note of realism…
That one, as religiously sensitive, as politically aware, as prophetically engaged, as socially compassionate as Jesus so speaks these or similar words does not unduly strain credulity…
To further clarify, the allusions to death do not require divine foreknowledge, do not insinuate divine identity, they but require one aware, aware enough to realize that if your actions stir up trouble, trouble may find you, attention of all sorts may come your way…
If Jesus so spoke these or similar words, in this context or others, what is its import for those who have latterly heard or read the story?
To begin a response…
If we have listened to, read, the story, the story of Jesus, the haunting memory of Yeshua, do we hear what is said?
At the risk of pressing too far ahead, are we willing to follow, shouldering the mission of Jesus, the cross of Jesus, risking the trouble aroused by Jesus?
In light of what is stirring within today’s gospel -
Are we willing to accept the debt laid upon us by the cross, recognizing that the cross does not pay off debt but puts us in debt, making us responsible for the promise of the kingdom of god coming true? 1
This is, must be, madness…
…that, perhaps, we might be Jesus’ second coming, that Jesus’ death might be our birth as followers of the ‘way’ of Jesus, that salvation might be thrust into our trembling hands, uncertain though they be, that our call may be to gather, at least to try, those least ‘as a hen gathers her brood under her wings’…
Are we willing to be on our way, to accept journeying to the madness of Jerusalem which, ‘kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it’?
(Pausing now to breathe…
Truth to tell…I’m not sure how to answer the questions; I’m not sure if I will answer, yet, if I sit quietly, trying not to draw attention to myself, praying I not be noticed – there is, nevertheless, an incessant insistence, troubling, haunting me -
The kingdom calls…
…calls us, to forgiving, to ways of living, to ways of giving forth, ways releasing and letting go, not in eternity but in time, within the quotidian rhythms of the world, within the hot mess of Jerusalem…
So – I can’t believe I’m saying this -
Jerusalem, casting out ‘demons’, hoping to perform cures…
So, I hope and pray…
May god’s people say, “Amen” …
1 John Caputo, The Insistence of God: A Theology of Perhaps, p. 150
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