I’m listening to U2 as I write – 40 is playing, a paraphrase of Isaiah 40, which includes the words ‘how long?’ and ‘I will sing, sing new song’. I’m going to consider these reflections a kind of ‘new song’ that I’m singing to God.
Reading – Mark 6:53-7:23
It’s not what goes in, but what comes out that defiles. Here we get to some of the heart of Lent – the human heart and its ability to generate so much of the pain and sorrow of the world and in our lives. As much of the political discourse over the last few weeks shows, we’re experts at finding things from outside that are the ‘problem’, whether it’s asylum seekers, terrorists, dole bludgers, the media or even politicians. By externalising evil, we can entertain the illusion that we can eradicate evil by putting barriers around or getting rid of what’s outside ‘us’. I watched a movie last night called ‘John Wick’, starring Keanu Reeves. It’s a 97 minute exercise in externalising and eradicating evil (the body count is enormous and senseless) that pushes the fiction of redemptive violence (death can bring justice) without spending a second to reflect. In a moment of irony, the ‘hero’ at the end frees a dog from a shelter (one of the few non-violent acts in the film) and experiences its judgement-free love – a step that could have short-circuited all the carnage (and made it a short, rather than a film). Hallelujah for the opportunity of Lent to reflect on what is within us, and the love of God offered to us in Christ to tend to what is good and right, the wheat among the weeds within.