Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday in Lent 3

Jeremiah done got his rant on again:

Jeremiah 6:13-15
13 For from the least to the greatest of them,
everyone is greedy for unjust gain;
and from prophet to priest,
everyone deals falsely.
14 They have treated the wound of my people carelessly,
saying, ‘Peace, peace’,
when there is no peace.
15 They acted shamefully, they committed abomination;
yet they were not ashamed,
they did not know how to blush.
Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;
at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,
says the Lord.
I remember my professor of Hebrew Scriptures (almost four decades ago) introducing us afresh to this text and so many others. I have never forgotten the passage: "...saying, 'Peace, peace,' when there is no peace." This was in the era of the Vietnam War.

Or saying "the economy is sound" when it wasn't, or "we are turning the corner in Iraq" when we weren't, or saying "we haven't been attacked since 9/11" when we have been (anthrax, anyone?).

On the other hand, do you recall those saying, "Crisis, crisis," when there was no crisis (social security)? All it needed was a small tweak to stay sound for decades to come, but there were cries of urgency and pleas to privatize it. What if that had happened and your social security had just crashed? The push to muck with it is being resumed, so beware.

Well, I can do a socio-political rant easily enough, and just did. But the deeper reality is that illusions, delusions, and outright lies are fed to us all the time and we are all too prone to buy into them, to collaborate in our own being deluded and deceived. We want some comfort, some easy answer, some message that will "tickle our ears" and make us feel good. We will grasp at straws, straws that will not sustain or defend or nourish us, rather than do the hard work of thinking for ourselves, becoming informed, taking responsibility, and - yes, here it comes - turning our lives around (= repenting).

As we are reminded in today's second Office reading: "‘All things are lawful for me’, but not all things are beneficial." (1 Corinthians 6:12)

Like the Gerasene demoniac we need some of our demons driven out. May Godde, in mercy, free us from the veils of illusion in which we entrap ourselves and restore us to our right mind.

Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

--the BB

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