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Lent Week 5 Friday - Speaking Truth

Friday, April 03, 2009
Readings: Jeremiah 20:10-13, Psalm 17:2-7, John 10:31-42

Today’s readings focus on conflict, misunderstanding and the desire to silence those whom we disagree with or do not understand. To be in a situation where you are misunderstood or where what you say, true though it may be, is rejected is a very difficult situation to be in. To use a modern phrase “people don’t get you”. To be in a situation where people reject you because of what you believe and know to be true can be emotionally, and in drastic cases, physically painful. This is the situation that the prophet Jeremiah is in, in today’s readings.

“Terror from every side! Denounce him, Let us denounce him!” People are baying for his blood and trying to trip him up, so that they may condemn him, “perhaps we will seduce him into error. Then we will master him and take our revenge!”

In today’s Gospel passage Our Lord is not faring much better, he too is experiencing the force of an angry mob. We are told in the opening line that they were fetching stones with which to stone him. Why was this? Jesus had affirmed a truth about himself, about his identity. In the situation of today’s Gospel, Jesus is being rejected for claiming to be God, for being God among us. Jesus asks his detractors “I have done many good works for you to see, works from my Father; for which of these are you stoning me?” Those who wished to stone him answered “we are not stoning you for doing good work but for blasphemy: you are only a man and you claim to be God”. They do not disagree or even deny that he is indeed doing good works. This is not the issue. What they wish to stone Jesus for is proclaiming a truth, the truth of his identity. This truth is so unpalatable to them that, despite the good they see him do, they wish to destroy him. The uncomfortable truth of Jesus identity has so blinded his hearers that they cannot even bear to allow him to live, lest they should have to hear it again and again.

In society nowadays to claim that something is a “truth” may cause you trouble. You may find yourself labelled as intolerant, closed minded, exclusive, or heaven forbid, politically incorrect. How many times have we heard it said that a Christian education inhibits children from being socially integrated, and may lead to a fragmented and intolerant viewpoint. As Christians we must fearlessly witness to our faith, fearlessly, kindly and lovingly. This may cause us to be “stoned” by the labels of misunderstanding. However Our Lord has walked the path before us and cleared the way. These are painful experiences, but as Christians we must trust in our Saviour and rely on his aid. As the psalm today says “My God is the rock where I take refuge”.

When we face misunderstanding or hostility because of our faith let us take refuge in the arms of our loving Saviour and respond with his love.


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