Jesus – Factionless

factionlessSo what happens when you don’t fit in? What happens when the society you live in believes you are an outcast or that your face does not fit the picture they would like it to? What happens when a society that nurtured you and brought you into being decides that your views are too radical? What happens when that society that you thought was nurturing and home decides that you are a threat to their status? What happens when you come into direct opposition with those who make the big decisions in life? What happens when all that you believed in turns out to be a fabrication designed to keep you under control? What happens when you stand up for those who are persecuted or marginalised for those whose poverty is not of their own making or for those who are different simply by virtue of their birth? What happens when you become faction-less – an outcast? Am I talking of the world of Divergent – our film this Lent – or our world? – Perhaps you can decide.
What happens when you become an outcast – faction-less? All those who you once thought of as friends turn against you. Your status as a member of society is removed. No food. No money. No clothing. Nowhere to live. No security. A life with no certainty, except that many will be ready to turn you away. This is the world that Tris Prior faces being a part of in Divergent. It is the world that many in our country live in every day and millions more beyond those who we can see. The faction-less are all around us, and it is time to join them. Why? Because Jesus went there before us. As we stand at the beginning of Holy Week separated by two thousand years from those events we witness the contrast between those who hold on to power for themselves and those who seek to give power away to others. It seems like only a few minutes has passed, rather than a few thousand years as we embark on yet another round of preparations for a general election. Who is challenging the status of those who would say they speak for the people, yet act only for themselves? Here is Jesus entering the city in mock splendour riding on an ass. The people’s king as they cheer him in. In contrast to the empire who exalts their own leaders without humility. The second chapter of Philippians is a beautiful passage of Paul exhorting us to be mindful of the way of Jesus. Empty of human pride, a servant to the people, Jesus comes calmly into our midst and is waved in with palm branches. Therefore says Paul, God highly exalted him. Because he was willing to be emptied of himself and humbled before all others and here he comes humbly once again amongst the people. In opposition, in contrast as an outcast, a usurper, a game changer. The authorities don’t like it. The religious are scared they will lose their shaky hold over the people. For they cannot control this Jesus.

What happens when you don’t fit in? You have Jesus on your side, because he didn’t fit either. He rides to certain death for all and alongside all those who have been denied their place in society. Because as well as faction-less Jesus is Divergent – but we’ll have to wait until Easter to uncover that secret.

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