Lent – 9th reading for discipleship reflections

James DouglasLent Readings and reflections, Reflections

My discipline lapsed on Saturday – I was distracted by preparations for a party and by the joy of attending and praying at a wedding; now I’m running late for today’s two posts.

Reading: Mark 3:20-4:9

On my Facebook feed, several people have shared Tony Burke MP’s post of a video of Tony Abbott as opposition leader, condemning the then Labor government and then Prime-minister Julia Gillard for the division within the party, the disorder of the government and the loss of confidence in government that this caused. The point of posting the video is, of course, to turn Mr Abbott’s words against him, and the Schadenfreude depicted in the video and enacted in the posting is palpable. In his speech, Mr Abbott paraphrases Mark 3:25 about a house divided against itself being unable to stand. It is intriguing that these words, which Jesus uses in defence against a charge of being the devil, are used as a form of attack (and neither Mr Abbott, nor Mr Burke are the first to do so in the political arena). Jesus had been dealing with the demon-possessed, who were most likely to be the mentally ill. In spending time with them, Jesus was making a political statement about their importance and his popularity added potency to the statement and risk to his continued choice of being with those at the margins. I’m conscious that my own dwelling with those at the margins needs work – that I couldn’t be thought out of my mind for hanging out with people who are thought to be out of theirs, because I don’t hang out with them. It’s not that what I do lacks importance or engagement, but this passage challenges me to reflect critically on my role as minister and my discipleship as a Christian. Maybe it’s time to expand my circle of friends.