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No answers, only Jesus

by davesandel on March 24th, 2012

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent

John 7:45-48

 Finally the temple guards went back to the chief priests and the Pharisees, who asked them, “Why didn’t you bring him in?”

 “No one ever spoke the way this man does,” the guards replied.

 “You mean he has deceived you also?” the Pharisees retorted. “Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in him? No!  But this mob that knows nothing of the law—there is a curse on them.”

Oh what a disaster it was for the Pharisees to have answers that could not be dislodged by the revelation of Jesus.  The curse, hardly a joke, was on them.

Perhaps because of this story and others like it, I shy away from answers.  There is something dead about certainty, something calcified, cemetery-dwelling, sick.  What appeals to me much more is the idea of a constantly moving thesis-antithesis-synthesis, a dialogue that never ends.  I appreciate an “answer” mostly to question it, push it around a little, see what points of view can unsettle its position.  What will it turn into next?

Perhaps I overdo this a little?  Jesus, after all, says without blinking an eye or turning a cheek, “I am the way, the truth and the life.”  Come to the Father, he invites me, but come through me.  That is the only way.  That sounds uncomfortably like an absolute, an Answer, that doesn’t invite dialogue.

The problem for me comes when we layer lifestyle judgments and ethics on this statement of Jesus.  If Jesus is the way, then nothing else is – certainly not the way I live my life.  Not any kind of choices that I make, other than the choice to come to the Father through Jesus.

You can see how something like this upsets the societal applecart, rather than steadying it.  The Pharisees were very clear about that. “Better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish” (John 11:50).

Get rid of that “way, truth, life” guy.  He does not respect our traditions.

In almost every instance Jesus responded to questions by asking another question.  His words did not betray his truth, his life, his way.  It is Jesus, not any idea about Jesus, that draws us into life with the Father.

Lord, teach me the wisdom of your word in Ecclesiastes, “God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.”  I want to focus on you, not on your gifts.  I want to seek you, the God of consolations, rather than the consolations of God.  Because you made me, because you are my Parents, I know your heartbeat, I know your Breath in my life.  Breathe on me, breath of God.  Breathe on me.

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