godisnowhere

thoughts on faith, justice, politics and philosophy

Month: March 2013

It is Finished

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He died today.

Gone.

God is dead.

He’s left us.

He wasn’t the One we waited for.

He can’t be.

 

The fabric of the curtain tore

The big surprise?

Nothing there.

No – one.

No God.

Nothing.

 

What next?

Where now?

Why this?

How long?

Which way?

Who knows…

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Abandoned Places

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I’ve been thinking about Jesus’ washing his disciples feet today – mainly whilst at work (that may go some way to explain why it wasn’t a productive day). What an astonishing idea; that the Messiah – the saviour of Israel – could stoop so low as to wash the feet of those who were meant to be following and learning from Him. 

How many of us these days are prepared to do the same?

I’m not, of course, referring to washing one another’s feet. That would be weird, right? What I am thinking of is that which we also shy away from – the messy, dirty, nasty, unpleasant tasks of life. The ones we don’t want to do because they would make us unclean, unauthoritative, no longer in control – that sort of thing.

Decisions like visiting Iraq, living in one of the worst parts of Philadelphia, exploring life on a council estate, caring for the dying in Calcutta, bearing the burden of the worldwide Catholic church when we would rather be in a two room apartment cooking our own meals and living the simple life; loving those who seem unloveable; caring for those who have no one else to care for them; moving in among the poor; selling our possessions so as not to be controlled by them; being prepared to die in the name of Jesus.

We can’t go on pretending that Jesus does not demand our all, our everything. We cannot go on leading a life of ignorance and worldly wealth. Not when we follow a God who was downwardly mobile enough to come to earth as man and then downward again in his pursuit of those on the most marginal places of society.

My question to you all this Maundy Thursday, is how prepared are you to follow Him? enough to lose your life? Because Jesus says that in doing so, you will gain it.

 

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The Socialist Jew

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I had something of a revelation whilst sat playing the piano earlier on today (it happens more often than I’d care to realise). I was playing an old church song called ‘Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise’. It got me thinking, why is it that we give God praise? If God is the only God – as opposed to no God, then it doesn’t make as much sense to give so much by way of praise to God. He’s the only one. It makes sense to me now, all those times I have dismissed people referring to God as an ‘attention seeker’ – yet now it suddenly makes sense.

A God who needs to be reminded of just how great He is? But if he is the only divine being, then he is not worthy of any sort of praise. He is, as it were, the only option. You can’t have a better or worse something if there’s no comparison to make.

But there is a comparison.

In ancient days the people worshiped a variety of gods, most famously Baal and Mammon. The latter one I find particularly interesting. Mammon, the god of money. God makes a lot more sense in the context of other gods – other idols. I am not saying that he is not the only divine being. Far from it. I affirm that truth. However, the idea that God is the only spiritual force at work in the world, the idea that God is unrivalled in his power on this earth, is to me a misunderstanding of our reality.

We live in an ‘enlightened’ world that knows gods such as Mammon and Baal don’t exist. Yet this enlightened world worships with fervent adoration the god of Capitalism. This God is the God against whom Jesus defines himself – Caesar, Rome, Empire, Domination, Unfairness  Inequality … Capitalism. Now, I’m not saying Jesus was a socialist either (the title was just a headline grabber – sorry!). But I believe that Jesus continued to define himself against these things. Yet as modern-day Christians, we allow ourselves to take part in the Capitalst god’s rituals.

We shop for the cheapest. We want the promotion. We pursue cars, mortgages, extensions.

Most of all, we are private about our finances. If money truly had no power. If Jesus truly was Lord as we claim, then would money hold any meaning or significance for us? This is the Jesus who tells us to leave behind even our father and mother! How much more important then is it to leave behind Capitalism? The passive acceptance that we as Christians have propagated over the last 2000 years must end and it must end now. There is no other way forward. If we do not, we become an irrelivent, quirky, off-message joke – a feeble remainder of what was once intended to be a thriving community of believers. Let’s not let that happen.

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