Saturday, March 28, 2020

Lenten Reflections, Day Thirty Two, Fifth Saturaday of Lent, Should I Give Up Some Of My Prejudices?


Day Thirty two, Fifth Saturday of Lent
Should I give up some of my prejudices?
John 7: 40-53

When they heard these words, some in the crowd said, “This is really the prophet.” 

Others said, “This is the Messiah.”

But some asked, “Surely the Messiah does not come from Galilee, does he? Has not the scripture said that the Messiah is descended from David and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?” 

So there was a division in the crowd because of him. Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him. Then the temple police went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why did you not arrest him?” The police answered, “Never has anyone spoken like this!” 

Then the Pharisees replied, “Surely you have not been deceived too, have you? Has any one of the authorities or of the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd, which does not know the law— they are accursed.” 

Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesuse before, and who was one of them, asked, “ Our law does not judge people without first giving them a hearing to find out what they are doing, does it?” 

They replied, “Surely you are not also from Galilee, are you? Search and you will see that no prophet is to arise from Galilee.” 

Then each of them went home.

I can imagine John telling this story shaking his head at how stupid those in authority are. Things haven’t changed at all from the times of Jesus to our current times. People in authority and their fundamentalist followers appeal to some external authority in the world of the ego like laws, regulations, prejudices of social class, where people live, etc.

Galilee was rural. It was not urban like Jerusalem. The chief priests and Pharisees could not believe that someone coming from the sticks would know anything. They are discriminating based on the rural/urban divide.

The chief priests and Pharisees were the authoritarians of their day. They put their loyalty in the law not in wisdom. They put their faith in the world of the ego not the world of the Spirit.

And so, Jesus’ teachings when over their heads. They dismissed it and marginalized it without even considering it. They treated Jesus’ teaching in a contemptuous and disdainful way. They wanted to silence HIm and not be bothered with considering and reflecting on it because Jesus had no authority to teach and His teachings are about the path of the Spirit and Love, and not about the path of the ego and laws and regulations.

When the police refused to arrest Jesus, the chief priests and Pharisees apparently were disgusted and frustrated and just went home for the day. But that is not the end of the story because their fundamentalist mindset is pervasive and persistent, and eventually leads to an attempt to silence the country boy from Galilee by killing him.

Lent is a time to examine our prejudices and biases. Who do we give credence to and will listen to and who do we reject outright because the speaker does not fit our pre-ordained ideas about who is worthy to be listened to and who we can ignore and shut down?

If Lent is a time to give up things we are attached to on the path of the ego, perhaps we should  reexamine our prejudices and biases and give some of them up.

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