Practical Proverbial, from Mark, 20 January 2016

Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. “But not during the festival,” they said, “or the people may riot.” Mark 14, verses 1-2.

These verses further entrench my disgust for all things political. That’s anachronistic because I follow politics.   The silly season of American politics in which we find ourselves now has always fascinated me.   I enjoy history; I love to read about it and see places where big events happened.   Like it or not, most of those events are memorable because there were political activities or overtones involved in them.   These days especially, it’s important that we, as citizens and voters, keep up on the views of those who seek to govern us.   Not just anyone can or should be president, or in any elected office actually.

Yet fascination and civic duty not withstanding, more often than not I find myself disgusted by the politics that are played out in our lives.   So many decisions, so many actions, are dictated by the whims of the politics of those who have been put in charge.   Politics were the biggest reason why I “divorced the Air Force” and got out at 11 years active.   I was disgusted that nearly every decision I made, as a junior NCO, was politicized by (who I perceived to be) a great many unqualified people around me.   In the space of just a few years, my part of the service went from being agile and able to having to seek approval for nearly every action we took from numerous uninvolved parties in the non-combat chain of command.   Politics.

At work we play politics, gauging what we should and shouldn’t say so as to not offend the most people on our team.   In church we structure the leadership around politically elected officers who, to be honest, can sometimes be as partisan or ineffective as any member of Congress. Ever been to a family reunion?   Ever held your tongue at the dinner table or listened to a cousin, uncle or parent rant on about something in pop culture?

Politics:   they’re through and through in our lives and they disgust a great many folks.   Today’s verses that talk about what the Jewish chief priests and elders said and did only reinforce that disgust.  If you think about it, the priests and elders did what they did for politics.   It was to hold on to their power, to preserve their political and ecclesiastical power in Jerusalem. They didn’t want to rock the boat; they didn’t want things to change unless it meant change in their favor and this itinerant rabbi from Galilee threatened a very different kind of change.   He had to be stopped.

But the priests were afraid of what the general population would do if said population found out about the politics that the ruling class was playing. There could be rioting or violence.   More likely, there would be a loss of tithing and income at the Temple. No matter what could happen, it would mean a threat to the status quo and the power base of those in charge.

All because of politics. The Son of Man was murdered because of disgusting petty power politics.

Lord I pray that you forgive me when I fail You, when I put the politics of this world above Your mission.

Read Mark 14, verses 1-11.


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