Friday, June 10, 2005

It seems to be in vogue within the modern Christianity discussion circle to choose a role within biblical stories. It may be an old practice (divino lecturio? -- okay, go ahead and laugh at my elementary Latin!) which helps us imagistically enter into the setting of the day when Christ, for instance, walks the earth. I've tried it and found it to be an excellent way to actively read the Scriptures.
A story which keeps coming up in my reading and attention is the one about Jesus' ministry and the crowds who attended to hear, listen, possibly believe, refute. It's interesting that with this story many of us moderns attest to being more like the Pharisee than the crowd that flocks. I keep reading that claim over and over again in various books. Perhaps it makes us feel more relevant, empathetic, true to our skepticism which we claim with pride. I can claim some of these feelings for sure.
However, as I read again about Jesus' ministry in Mark this morning, I think, "Why couldn't I've been part of the flock that was willing, fed, taught, ministered to?" I know that this is probably basic for some of you, and you'd think that I would have this concept tucked deep into my faith at this point in time. But, if I have, it quickly becomes dispersed from my heart into a head reaction in which I objectively put off the thought of me being led like a sheep into total hope and belief like some of these old time foks were. It seems scary and presumptious almost to claim, "Yes, Jesus would have spoken to even me, and I would have followed instead of opposed."
But, it's okay to agree to this image, because of the other side of identification. I can identify with those who need a healing touch, who have been desperately put out of sorts, who have sought for something more meaningful in their lives. Yes, a flesh and blood now representation would be amazing and curious, but, having seen, having heard, why wouldn't I have said, "Yes, I will eat your bread!" as I do attempt to now.
Hmmm.... to imagistically enter into the flock time and time again perhaps will make me less resistant even now as I subconsciously strive to be pharisaaical and separate.
Thanks, Lord, for standing before us.


alaiyo said...

Good thoughts, Teri. I recall a number of years ago that an elder in our church rebuked us (the congregation in general) for always taking on the opposition image -- "If you have responded in faith to Jesus today, then of course you would have done so then. He has chosen you, whenever you might live/have lived. And you have chosen Him. So see yourself as the faithful (if struggling at times) believer that you are and don't identify yourself falsely with the proud and skeptical and disbelieving. Of course you would offer up your son like Abraham if called to by God; of course you would fight giants like David!"

It's almost like some kind of perverse hubris to claim that we wouldn't have been what we actually are . . .

Keepin' on fightin' to live with Him each day,


Fieldfleur said...

Wow, thanks, Beth, for sharing your elder's rebuke. My church, although I like it, promotes sensitivity to the unchurched, unbeliever so much that at times, we try to see through their eyes/head and forget what lens we now can claim. Strange type of transference which I often find myself blurred with. Ah well.
I love your "perverse hubris" stmt. You are a wise person, I can tell.
Happy weekend,