30 March, Thursday — On Dissonance

Thursday of the 5th Week of Lent

Gen 17:3-9
Jn 8:51-59

“Now we know for certain that you are possessed.”

I have a dog called Tommy. He will be 10 this year. Tommy is a Labradoodle, a breed that has an incredible capacity for word recognition. His ability to understand what I am saying to him never ceases to amaze me. He can tell time. He is sensitive to the energy in a room, and knows to adjust his behaviour accordingly. He communicates his hunger plainly and with authority. Yet for all his superior intelligence, our realities have limited overlap. And that can be frustrating, especially when I need him to communicate his condition to me – injury, pain and sickness being my chief concerns. It has occurred to me that Tommy possibly feels the same about my communications with him. “Why is my human so dense? 10 years, yet she still hasn’t figured it out? How can I make myself more clear?!”

This lack of overlap in realities, this dissonance in perception, seems to have been the predicament between Jesus and the Jews in today’s Gospel reading. Their understanding of time and space, of Abraham, of God the Father, of the person of Jesus – all of it ran slightly askew. And their dogmatism and stubbornness made it difficult for Jesus to get them to see things from his point of view. A similar argument can be made for the culture wars that are so pervasive today. Both sides are frustrated, wondering why the other is so dense, yet neither is willing to yield even one step, to try and empathize even a little, so we end up shouting at each other from across the chasm. And when everyone shouts at the same time, all voices are drowned out.

The hope I hold on to in our combative time is that God made a covenant with Abraham, the father of all His faithful, that Abraham’s descendants would triumph. That a promised land would eventually be our possession if we hold steadfastly to His Word. In this age when everything is faddish and transient, when public opinion shifts on the madness of the masses, the only rock we can depend on is God’s Word. God’s promises – unshakeable, everlasting, constant, eternal. Let us hold steadfastly to Him then, with the assurance that we are all descendants of Abraham in faith, and soldier on with the confidence that our message, God’s truth, will be the one that prevails.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Sharon Soo)

Prayer: We pray for the patience and fortitude to speak God’s Word plainly. His is the only truth that matters.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks for the Holy Spirit, who inspires us in word and deed.


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