Easter isn’t over. In fact, the Orthodox Church celebrates it this Sunday. And on a larger scale, any day or time can be Easter.
At least that’s how I see it. I never was much of a ‘company man’ and remember my little radio talk about Christmas while DJ-ing at Trent University, where I likewise said the Holy Day could be any day and preferably every day.
By that, of course, I meant the Spirit of Christmas and by implication, Easter.
I recall my Catholic girlfriend – back then – liking my broadcast, which meant a lot to me because, except for weddings and funerals, I was raised in a non-churchgoing family and in my undergrad days knew precious little about so-called ‘Western’ religion and the Bible.
Since then I have learned a bit, as needed, and find the story of Jeremiah to be one of my favorites.
As illustrated in this effective screen adaptation, nobody really listens to Jeremiah and he needs to be alerted by God in advance to stave off attacks and calamities.
This pattern crops up fairly often in Biblical lore. It’s present in the Jesus story where the demented Herod is killing off all the firstborn males because he’s heard that a King will be born. Mary and Joseph flee to Egypt and Jesus is born away from home.
In this screenshot (above), Jeremiah is expected by his family and peers to offer a sacrifice at the temple but he refuses. It’s a climactic scene and very well done. He then begins his mission.
Recall that this is a film adaptation of the story and not necessarily true to detail. But for me that’s okay. It’s not the details so much but the overall message that matters. Most sober Biblical scholars agree that much of the Old Testament is a hodgepodge of different stories, authors and sources, anyhow.
That’s one reason why I don’t get too hung up on specific Hebrew words, their sounds, and (perhaps) the numinous buzz one may feel when repeating them.
To me, that’s misguided or at best, baby steps. Contemporary psychological research suggests that non-religious, secular words may have a similar experiential effect as religious words when repeated.
Again, it’s the overall message that matters.
And the message of Jeremiah is that anyone can be a prophet. It takes no special, magical powers or personal effort. No, what happens is God chooses who will be a prophet and transforms those individuals accordingly. God may give them a desire to learn more about the Lord. But again, all agency is from the Lord, not the vessel.
This is where many Gnostics get mixed up, I believe. They do their special rituals or techniques, sense a little buzz and suddenly think they’re God’s chosen. They never stop to think that a far greater experience could be had.
This arguably happens with insane people too.
I once wrote in a paper at the University of Ottawa that it’s a fine line between madness and mysticism. Cultural and political factors may come into play but ultimately the truth or falseness of an unusual truth claim comes down to God, who is the ultimate judge.
Jeremiah was right and persecuted for being so.
An old story that I imagine many of us can relate to today.