On the sofa with Will Freeman

On the sofa with Will Freeman :: Passion Sunday:

Jeremiah: 31:31-34
John: 12:20-33

I want to paint a picture for you, I’m not an artist, so I’ll have to paint you a mental image, a tableaux if you like, a freeze frame of a man sat on a sofa, the man of course is Will Freeman. We have been dwelling on the story ‘About a Boy’ during lent. This image is a moment in time from the film, a point of change where Will and Marcus, after growing slowly together during the course of the film are now separated. Will, the wilderness dweller who used to only think of himself has made a connection with two people, Marcus, who entered his life by chance, and Rachel with whom Will struck up a relationship based on Marcus being his son, which predictably, was doomed to fail – Will never was particularly good at the truth. Rachel finds out, and leaves.
Marcus visits Will hoping that he can help him once again. Marcus has been having an awful time at home. His mother is depressed and he is unsure of how to help so he visits Will who, up until now, has been able to help Marcus adjust to his new school, he has even, unknown to Will, been able to help Marcus deal with his feelings about his mother.
Will says he can’t help Marcus with real things. “I’m the guy who can help you choose trainers and music.” Marcus deserts him, knowing he will have to face his problems on his own. Marcus’ mind is set, he knows the path he must take, even if it means social suicide. He leaves and decides to sing at the school concert – the only thing which he thinks he can do to make his mother happy.

We are left then with Will sat on the sofa, blank and empty, now two things he cares about are gone, Rachel and Marcus, he realises in that moment just how much they have meant to him over the past few weeks, but at that moment he is unable to do anything about it. He is sat in despair, he is unsure of the future, the path ahead is uncertain and Will is unable to help even himself.

I want to leave you on the sofa with Will to explore the feelings of separation. Feelings which are present, I think, in the Gospel. I’ll leave you with that image as we begin to explore our readings this week.

We are entering the last few weeks of lent, the tension should be mounting, building up towards Good Friday, but is it? Perhaps it is just me. I don’t feel particularly nervous about the coming weeks, I have no sense of the uncertainty of the future. I’m not gearing up emotionally for a great upheaval in life. I’m not expecting a great change in the next few weeks. Perhaps it is because the story is too familiar, we know the story so well it is hard to really get into it and involved with the characters. We can look towards Easter Sunday and the resurrection too quickly, rather than dwelling with the feelings and emotions around each part of the story. Let’s take a look at today’s reading from the point of view of the sofa of Will Freeman…

Jesus knows what is going on, Jesus is set on course for the Passover festival at Jerusalem. “The hour is at hand.” says Jesus, but not quite yet. There is a certainty in this reading, John gives us a portrait of Jesus who is sure about the coming events.

I do not think the same can be said for the Disciples. The mood in the camp appears to be ill at ease. Some Greeks come to see Jesus we are told, there is still an interest in this strange teacher, he still causes a stir wherever he goes, people want to see him for healing, to hear his message of justice and reconciliation. So some people come to see him. The disciples confer, then go to Jesus. The attitude and the mood is changing, become one of nervous tension. Then Jesus speaks of his ‘hour’ and there is some disturbance, words from heaven which Jesus says is a sign for the people, Unsettling times for the Disciples. If I had been there I would probably have run already.

The reading from the Prophet Jeremiah helps to make sense of this strange situation, this reading is pivotal, it marks a distinction between the old order and the new. This new covenant is remarkably different from the old. We must die to the old ways and be reborn with the new. The Gospel of John is doing the same thing, from here on in the path we tread is paved with uncertainty. We are left sat on the sofa with Will Freeman, the old ways are dying away, the new is uncertain and yet to come, but come it must, what will it bring? We don’t know and we can only guess. That is the perspective of the Disciples.

It is easy to say out of death comes life, we can see that all around us, it’s spring, no surprise that the resurrection of Jesus is celebrated over the pagan festivals of fertility and new lift.

How easy is it I wonder, to tread that path. When people die or leave, when there is a death, there is a vacuum created where they were. It creates uncertainty, because to begin with there is nothing to fill it.

Marcus leaves will, we are left on the sofa with Will Freeman
Jesus has begun to separate and will soon leave disciples.

We need to feel the desperation, the despair, the uncertainty, only through that experience can we truly experience the resurrection as it undoubtedly was, one of hopes and dreams beyond wildest expectations fulfilled, the joy and excitement as Christ walked amongst his friends once again.

On to Easter with ‘About a Boy’

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