Hello, my name is Tracey Skidmore and I am a Reader in the parish of Brockmoor in the Brierley Hill team.
Every day, I find myself bombarded with words, ideas and images that are trying to make me think or do something; buy, wear, eat, drink, watch this; believe, think, like, dislike that.
Fear, distrust, hate them…
Ideas, opinions, propaganda even; all disguised as news, advice, gossip or opinion pieces.
Some are genuine, from legitimate sources, while some are designed to undermine and discredit the truth, spread distrust and fear, change how one behaves and ultimately create division between people.
It’s not surprising that many people think that this is an issue of our times. The words ‘These days…’ are often bandied about when discussing problems in society and the world in general; certainly, social media and twenty-four-hour rolling news make this more of an issue than ever; both truths and lies can be spread across the globe at the click of a mouse.
None of this is new though; in the Gospel reading from Luke 13:31- end, some Pharisees approach Jesus, supposedly to warn him of King Herod’s plan to have him killed. This warning must have aroused suspicion; Jesus had hardly found favour among the Pharisees, they had on several occasions made their animosity towards him clear.
There was also no real history of bad feeling between Jesus and this King Herod. It was Herod’s father that had slaughtered many innocents in a fit of fear and jealousy at the news of a new King .
On the other hand, some Pharisees had treated Jesus with respect, even inviting him to their home to share a meal, while King Herod had already shown himself to be dangerous and volatile in his dealings with John the Baptist.
Though it is impossible to know if the threat was genuine or merely a ploy by the Pharisees to control Jesus, it seems that he believed one or the other was hoping to frighten him into changing his ways.
When he says ‘Go and tell that fox for me, listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow and on the third day I finish my work’ I believe he is telling them that though he does not trust Herod ( who he calls a sly fox) he has no intention of stopping what he is doing until his work is done. What they do not realise is, he already knows that he will die soon and he knows where he will die, he tells them as much when he goes on to talk about Jerusalem being the only possible place for a prophet to be killed. He knows that he is destined to die in Jerusalem, therefore neither Herod or the Pharisees can interrupt his work, events must run their course.
Yet after it all, Jesus still wants them to know that he loves them, even though they are against him, he still wants to gather them to him ‘like a hen gathers her brood’ but they are not willing and this hurts him deeply.
He ends the interaction by telling them that until they are ready to see him for who he is, he will not be there with them; they will be left to their selves.
‘‘See your house is left to you. And I tell you , you will not see me until the time comes when you say ‘Blessed is the one that comes in the name of the Lord’ ’’
As I negotiate my way through life and all of its worldly distractions, I pray that I will have the wisdom to trust in God to guide me, to help me discern the truth from the fiction and to know when evil disguised as caring is trying to manipulate me and separate me from God.
- In this season of Lent as we journey towards the cross, how well do we recognise the people and the situations that may distract us from truly following the path God has set for us?
- When we consider our own beliefs and ideas on the more difficult subjects, how do we really think they compare to the example that was set for us by Christ and his teachings of love and humility?