Freedom cannot be taken away

The book-size page-a-day diaries, that organisations give to people to advertise their wares, begin to annoy with their daily words of wisdom.

The sayings are wise but they are also obvious. They annoy because they constantly remind one of ideals that seem all but impossible to live up to. Take this one, ‘It is in moments of decision that your destiny is shaped’, (Anon) or from Viktor Frankl, ‘Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.’

Eminently wise sayings, but to throw them at one at the foot of each page is literally to ‘cast pearls before swine.’ How can one possibly absorb and live such ideals? Frankl came to his wisdom AFTER years in a concentration camp where ‘everything he possessed had been taken away.’ He learnt through hard experience.

Peter had been coasting along, thinking he was doing fine in a good position as Jesus’ right hand man and that the fruits of his closeness to the Master would sooner or later fall into his lap. But everything collapsed. He failed miserably, lying that he never knew Jesus, not once but three times. Then Jesus ‘looked’ at him. That’s all Luke tells us. But it was enough. Peter broke down. He was like a shard from the potter’s workshop.

But he was not discarded as potters do with shards. He was reinstated and confirmed and asked not once but three times ‘do you love me?’ Now he affirmed his love, insisted on it. It was the beginning of something new, something on a higher level of being and it happened AFTER he had reached the depths of crisis. The uneducated fisherman from Galilee appears in Acts as a new man. He stands up before the Jewish elders and boldly tells them; ‘If you are questioning us today about an act of kindness to a cripple… you must know, all of you, and the whole people of Israel …’ and he goes on to proclaim in the clearest terms his belief in Jesus, ‘whom you crucified …’.

Instead of having 365 sayings in these diaries, I wish they would narrow it down to one! Something like, ‘the one who loses their life, finds it.’ The trouble is, as Ruth Burrows constantly reminds us, ‘we keep a deadly hold on our life.’ The last thing we want to do is to lose it.

1 May 2022    Easter Sunday 3C   Acts 5:27…41   Rev 5 11-14      Jn 21:1-19     

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