Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of October 23, 2011
- Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of October 23, 2011
We are a bit late coming out with the 2011-2012
Liturgical Calendar and Lectionary for this year,
for which we apologize. If you want to preorder,
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up until Epiphany to tide you over until the full
calendar is printed and bound and sent to you.
As one of the on-going ministries of Chi Rho Press,
here is a selection from our book of daily devotions,
"Living as the Beloved: One Day at a Time," by the
Rev. Dr. Sandra Bochonok.
Please read the Scripture passage and Dr. Bochonok's
meditation. We hope you will be blessed.
Thank you for forwarding this to your friends.
Religious deception and bribery
"While they were going, some of the guard went into
the city and told the chief priests everything that
had happened. After the priests had assembled with
the elders, they devised a plan to give a large sum
of money to the soldiers, telling them, 'You must
say, "His disciples came by night and stole him
away while we were asleep." If this comes to the
governor's ears, we will satisfy him and keep you
out of trouble.' So they took the money and did as
they were directed. And this story is still told
among the Jews to this day."
What is the price of truth? We are not told how
much money the soldiers received, but it was a
large sum. To the poorly paid soldiers, it probably
represented a small fortune. The soldiers agreed to
accept the money and lie about what actually happened
at the tomb where Jesus had been buried. Certain
religious authorities were now desperate in their
attempts to silence the resurrection event. All
conspired and agreed to perpetuate an intentional
lie. All agreed to circulate the story among the
Jewish people. Lies beget lies.
What was the truth? Jesus had risen from the dead.
Death had been conquered. God was moving in
mysterious and powerful ways that disturbed
religiously powerful men. They tried to cover
the truth with money and deception. They tried
to lie to the world.
Over the years, I have worked with religious leaders
representing many different faith traditions. Most
are devout, sincere, God fearing, honest, and holy
leaders. Yet our religious institutions are fallible.
Sometimes the truth is subconsciously or deliberately
silenced and hidden in order to maintain the status
quo and please the financial donors. Such was my
experience while studying evangelism during my Doctor
of Ministry program. For an elective, I chose to
attend one of the famous Billy Graham schools of
evangelism. During that week of intense study, I
was in conversation with a Graham employee about
the possibility of teaching an inclusive gospel,
which would welcome people of all sexual orientations.
He totally discouraged any further conversation with
the comment, "Our funders barely support our inclusion
of women at this school of evangelism. We'd lose them
in a minute if we supported your proposed workshop!"
While religion can deepen our faith experiences, it
can also corrupt us. God is bigger than all our
combined religions. Religion can sometimes fail
us in our search for truth. Well-intentioned
people have used religion to inflict deep suffering
on people who believe differently. They have
demonized certain groups such as gays and lesbians,
crusaded against those whom they call infidels and
pagans, and burned books that offered different
outlooks on life.
Yet it must also be said that religious organizations
have done much good as they have fed the hungry, cared
for the destitute, provided for the orphan, and worked
for improving conditions for the impoverished.
Religious corruption is not new. It is good to
question our religious authorities and our own
motives thoroughly. Leaders and believers
representing all world religions are vulnerable.
Bribery, deception, and lies can affect all our
cherished religious institutions and leaders.
Perhaps it is enough to simply sit with the tension
of these verses and consider where we are in the
story. Perhaps we too, have been tempted to lie,
deceive, bribe, and cover the truth somewhere in
our lives. This is a wonderful opportunity for
personal reflection and confession of sin. We need
these moments of soul care. Each of us has an
enormous capacity for self-deception.
God, as I linger quietly in your loving presence,
speak to me about truth and deception, honesty and
Grace and peace,
Chi Rho Press
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