Occasional thoughts from a young adult reveling in the messiness of life.
I’m back with the second edition of Lent through Lens, the interpretive photography project that I’m participating in as a part of the Lenten Sunday school series at my church. We’re only on the second week, and I must say that it is a little harder than I thought. Nevertheless, I love that it’s making me really wrestle with scripture each week.
This past Sunday, we presented our photographic interpretations for a passage from Luke 13.
At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” He said to them, “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. Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’ Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 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 who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
Overall, what struck me in this Gospel passage was the clarity of Jesus’ mission and his determination to follow through on his mission despite the warning from the pharisees. It was striking to me on how matter-of-fact he was about what he needed to do and how long he needed to get it done. “…I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way…” He set his sights on what needed to be done, and he followed through. He had clarity and direction, even amid danger.
For me, personally, I am still trying to get clarity on my own mission in life, and I feel that I get a lot of mixed signals. It’s either that, or I’m fighting God ferociously, doing one thing when I know I should be doing something else. In either case, I took the first image because it contrasted with what I saw in the Gospel, ultimately representing that confusion and opposing options that I constantly encounter on my own spiritual journey.
That image contrasts with the next one, which is a bold arrow pointing in a very clear direction–onward and upward. I love the determination of Jesus in this passage. He didn’t let anything, not even the threat of death, stand in his way of his mission. I think there are times where we like to paint a nice, warm, fuzzy image of Jesus as a meek and meager figure who turned the other cheek, but this passage showed me a Jesus who wasn’t shy and who didn’t shrink in the face of danger.
The final thing that struck me was the clear warning that Jesus received from the pharisees. Herod wanted him dead. Throughout the week that I wrestled with this Gospel, I started noticing how many warnings we encounter every day, and there are many. The scene depicted in the third image struck me, as it signified that there are dangers in every journey, but they don’t have to stand in the way of us moving forward.