Daily Office Readings for Thursday of the 3rd Week of Lent: Year 1
Morning, Psalms 42 and 43; Evening, Psalms 85 and 86;
Jeremiah 10:11 to 24; Romans 5:12 to 21; John 8:21 to 32
“Everyone is stupid and without knowledge; goldsmiths are all put to shame by their idols; for their images are false, and there is no breath in them. They are worthless, a work of delusion; at the time of their punishment they shall perish.” (Jeremiah 10:14 and 15)
To me, the words of Jeremiah which says, “Everyone is stupid and without knowledge,” simply means that no one is pondering about God and real life. We are often enslaved by the imaginations of artists. Artists have given angels a pair of wings but nowhere in the Bible, when it speaks of angels specifically, do they have wings. Leonardo DaVinci has the apostles seated at a long table in such a way that we can see our Lord Jesus centered, and all the apostle’s faces can be seen, as in a photo op.
Jeremiah reports that goldsmiths have poisoned the minds of the community with their craft of golden gods made with human hands that have no power at all. They are a work of delusion. To buy into the imaginations of craftsmen is to not use our skills of reason which God has given to us all. We do have knowledge, we are not without knowledge. We are not really stupid, but we don’t use our God-given reasoning ability to prayerfully examine Biblical text. If we did, we would not let the imaginations of a few, lead us down roads that are not validated by the ancient stories handed down to us from before Christ, and since Christ.
I love art. I love technological achievements that make life nice. However, I keep a clear distinction between what is nice and what is necessary. God, and worship of God, happens to be both for me, nice and very necessary. I can do without phones, devices and even this laptop that I am typing this on right now. I cannot however do without reaching out to God through my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Daily pondering in prayer and meditation is a matter of holy habit now. I don’t believe we are really stupid and without knowledge as Jeremiah reports. I think we don’t take the time to sit quietly in a room alone. This is the recommendation of Pascal, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone,” Blaise Pascal. Each of us has the responsibility to form for ourselves the pattern of life we want. We get to decide how and when art and technology participate in our lives. We decide the habits we have. We are the habits we keep, good or bad. What holy habits do you keep? What holy habits would you like to start? Find a quiet space and ponder this.
Please keep up your thoughts and prayers and hopes for Ukraine and Russia.
As we listen to what the Spirit of God is saying to us, let us live to love and serve, and to teach others to love and serve, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John