Jeremiah 26:1-9 and Matthew 13:54- end.
Today the Church remembers St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, 1556.
Is not this the Carpenter’s son? And they took offence at him.
At the beginning of lockdown were you one of the people resolved to use the time by learning new skills or rediscovering old forgotten ones? Dare I say, this was not UNPRECEDENTED, to do use a much overused word! For instance as the Church remembers and give thanks for him, it is worth noting that his journey of faith really got underway during his own lockdown, or lockup. He was a soldier wounded in battle and incarcerated for a long time. He used his time to catch up on his reading. One of the things he read was the New Testament and particularly his attention was drawn to the Gospels. In reading the gospels he discovered something about himself, the ability to get imaginatively involved in the scenes. He could visualise the scene or identify with a character in it.
From this developed the Ignatian method of meditation which became in vogue a few years ago, Some reading this post might have done the course, which I haven’t so forgive me if. I get some of it wrong. One of the recommendations is that you read the passage, sleep on it and next day see where it takes you .
Well, I did that for today’s gospel! Jesus teaches in the synagogue in his home town, local lad turns preacher doesn’t work out too well! Bad sermon day! Well, not so much bad sermon, probably good sermon but badly received. Some of us know exactly what that can be like! ( Question. Is a sermon only good if I agree with it?)
Any way, I read the passage pictured the scene and slept on it. Next morning, thoughts musings and insights began to emerge.
So I find myself in the congregation and disquieted by what I have heard. We aren’t told exactly what it was he said which lit the blue touch paper. But my musing took me to this uncomfortable place that sometimes in the past in my preaching I have tried to sweeten the pill, make Him more acceptable to our contemporary tastes and values. ( well he didn’t mean it like that! We have to allow for different world views, and well that was Middle Eastern male thinking!).
The truth is Jesus is radical, he is a challenge and the Kingdom of God doesn’t fit easily with the world, and certainly isn’t feel good, a sort of extra bit of spirituality I can own to make myself a better person. He calls us to Rethink, Reimagine, Reprioritise, and always this is disturbing.
We have to allow ourselves to be confronted by the disturbing and challenging humanity of this man.
Only when the sweating,bleeding humanity of Jesus has got under our skin can we begin to appreciate the Divinity of this Man.