Monday, March 28, 2011

2011 lent collage 3: denial

 as i continue my way through lent by wrestling with our sunday texts, i bring you this week's collage, which deals with peter's response to the servant girl in mark 14 when she recognizes him as one of the ones who had been with Jesus.  mark's gospel has him literally saying, "i don't know what you are talking about." 

i love that.  it's a classic lie (which i've used many times...just ask my parents), born of self-preservation and fear.  and while it seems that Christians for centuries have been doing some of our best fingerpointing while looking at this story of peter's denial, the truth is that it is a lie that isn't unfamiliar to any of us.  whether in word or deed, we've lived this lie, to its fullest. 

"lent 2011: denial"
mixed media collage on canvas
gregory a. milinovich

and while some of us may be guilty of disassociating ourselves from the Jesus we see in the bible, the denial that most of us are guilty of is far more insidious.  we deny the Christ in our midst.  Jesus told us that we meet Jesus in those around us who are hurting and hungry, and that we get to know (and be known by) this Jesus by loving them.  the denial, then, that i know i am most guilty of, is the denial of my neighbor. 

what, there are hurting people down the street from me?  i don't know what you are talking about.
the clothes i buy are made by underpaid workers in sweat shops?  i don't know what you are talking about.
the electronics i throw away are dumped offshore in china where they poison the water?  i don't know what you're talking about.
i'm ignoring the love my son needs because i'm a little busy playing "angry birds?"  i don't know what you're talking about.

see what i mean? 
our denial may seem less shameful or deliberate than peter's, but the truth is that peter's was much more desperate than ours.  Peter was just trying to stay alive, for God's sake. 

what are we doing?  just trying to save a few bucks on new jeans? 
we deny God because we worship comfort, and because we are afraid of losing it. 

i don't know, maybe i'm wrong. 
but if you're reading this and saying, "i dont' know what you are talking about," well, maybe you need to rethink. 
i know i do.


Greg C said...

A tough but true message, my friend. It's been lodged in my head since I read it yesterday morning. Thinking like that really can show us just how short we fall. I'm so thankful that my failures, my denials don't damn me forever and not only does God forgive me, He gives me new opportunities to do it right!

greg. said...

hey greg. thanks not only for reading, but for reflecting and wrestling. i love that about you!

and thanks for added a much-needed postscript to my words from yesterday. i didn't end with enough grace, did i? don't worry: easter is coming, and hopefully my easter collage will hold some of that good news of forgiveness for all our denials. miss you, bro.

Greg C. said...

I'm quite sure it will....and back at ya!