I’ve been reflecting on our current situation in the US in light of the Accept-Reject theme in the Gospel of Mark. The polarization in our country is so frustrating. One side is so sure of the rightness of its solution to a problem, while the other side firmly rejects the idea as fatally flawed. Both sides agree there is a problem -- the economy, the health care system, the public schools, the mass shootings, the increasing number and intensity of extreme weather events. One side thinks government programming is the solution. The other side thinks capitalism is the solution. Neither side will budge, and so the problems fester and worsen.
Was Mark’s audience frustrated, too? Frustrated and weary of dealing with adamant nonbelievers?
If I can conceive of the other side as full of good-soil people, who at present are like the women fleeing from the empty tomb and are too fearful to receive the truth, then my attitude towards the other side might soften. Afterall, someday I might be the good-soil person who has allowed fear to leave her barren of spiritual fruit.
With my improved attitude, maybe I can look for ways to reassure the fearful through my words and actions to have faith in the future that God has been, is at present, and will be initiating. No debating, no arguing, just me going about God’s business as faithfully as I can, and with a lot of humility since I’m not entirely sure what God’s plan for the world ultimately will look like in all of its detail.
Likewise, the same approach can be used with the adamant naysayers. No debating, no arguing, just living faithfully. Letting my actions do the talking for me. Praying that God will shatter false certainty and will convince the obstinate of the truth. Acknowledging that the erroneous certitude might be my own, and I’m the one who needs to undergo conversion to the truth.
I’m trying to come up with a visualization technique that would aid this introspective prayer. Imagery that includes a tree that is full of fruit and a tree that is barren. The final post in this series on the parable of the sower will report the outcomes of my attempts to pray this way.
Care to join me in this endeavor? Meditate on the parable of the sower this week and then share a reflection on your experience.