This is a rather disturbing gospel passage, or should be, as it’s the beginning of that tradition of story-telling that identifies us as Christian over and against everything else: the beginning of that myth-making that can make one group comfortable in itself at the discomfort of others, the sort of story-line that can then be readily co-opted by others for all sorts of nefarious purposes – and I’m thinking here of the smoke and mirror tactics of such as Putin and Stalin and Hitler and Boris Johnson and so many other politicians pretty well everywhere, in their bid to retain and exercise power. It’s ultimately an enervating process because no one knows where they finally stand, including the proponents of the stories themselves, who finally become so powerful that no one dares disabuse them of their false take on reality.
I’m saying this, now, because we can so easily do this among ourselves here in the tranquil village of Turvey, in a Benedictine setting otherwise dedicated to peace. We’ve finally got to the other side of Lent and Easter Sunday and now the work begins: that work that begins each day of not allowing the devil, or anyone else, to co-opt our Christian story which is one, not of telling stories over and against others, but of making peace with our enemies, supposed or otherwise. So, I’m sorry folks, but this is the Lenten character which everyday continues to hold for us. Our task becomes, not one of excluding others from our story, but of making sure everyone has a benign part to play in it, for everyone of these players is already part of oneself.