ordinary 24

Vicar’s Reflection: 13 Sept 2015, OS 24

Have you ever stared at the stars on a clear night and seen in the random patterns a face or a figure? The ancients did and gave names to some constellations. The Southern Cross is part of our flag; Matariki, the Seven Sisters, was for Maori a guide to seasonal change. The psalmist has another view: “The heavens proclaim the glory of God.” We humans have the ability to recognise patterns which enables us to enjoy abstract art; and for hunters to see their prey amidst the obscuring foliage. It can also lead us astray, like the hunter who mistakenly sees a deer when what is really present is his hunting buddy. Tragedy can result. Our ability to see patterns can lead us astray spiritually, as is evident in this conversation between Jesus and Peter in Mark 8. Jesus asked his disciples who people thought he was. Some saw one pattern and guessed his identity as being like a prophet of the past. Peter rightly perceived Jesus as the Messiah but misunderstood his mission. Jesus rejected Peter’s view of Jesus as a triumphant conqueror. Just as abstract art is difficult to appreciate until we learn that it is an invitation by the artist to bring our own interpretation to the work. Likewise God invites us to see in Jesus one who suffers and calls us to recognise that in following Jesus there will, at times, be suffering and loss. Alex Czerwonka

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