28 March, Saturday – Mob Mentality

28 March

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Jeremiah 11:18-20

The Lord revealed it to me; I was warned. O Lord, that was when you opened my eyes to their scheming. I for my part was like a trustful lamb being led to the slaughter-house, not knowing the schemes they were plotting against me, ‘Let us destroy the tree in its strength, let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name may be quickly forgotten!’

But you, the Lord of Hosts, who pronounce a just sentence,
who probe the loins and heart,
let me see the vengeance you will take on them,
for I have committed my cause to you.

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John 7:40-52

Several people who had been listening to Jesus said, ‘Surely he must be the prophet’, and some said, ‘He is the Christ’, but others said, ‘Would the Christ be from Galilee? Does not scripture say that the Christ must be descended from David and come from the town of Bethlehem?’ So the people could not agree about him. Some would have liked to arrest him, but no one actually laid hands on him.

The police went back to the chief priests and Pharisees who said to them, ‘Why haven’t you brought him?’ The police replied, ‘There has never been anybody who has spoken like him.’ ‘So’ the Pharisees answered ‘you have been led astray as well? Have any of the authorities believed in him? Any of the Pharisees? This rabble knows nothing about the Law – they are damned.’ One of them, Nicodemus – the same man who had come to Jesus earlier – said to them, ‘But surely the Law does not allow us to pass judgement on a man without giving him a hearing and discovering what he is about?’ To this they answered, ‘Are you a Galilean too? Go into the matter, and see for yourself: prophets do not come out of Galilee.’
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But this crowd which does not know the law is accursed

I need to turn off my Twitter feed, I think. It’s become an angry mob. Or at least, I need to reset my preferences to mute out the chaos. There’s enough of that now in my life, I don’t need an echo chamber cranking up the volume. The thing about mobs is that they’re emotional. And they’re loud. With a mob, perception is truth, whether or not it’s justified. Once stirred up, a mob has the power to move people into making bad decisions; decisions that change lives, not necessarily for the better. And a mob’s fluid, amorphous nature is easily manipulated by people with less than noble intent. We saw this during our last election. We’re seeing it again now.

The Pharisees did exactly that, manipulate the mob to their own ends. Maybe they didn’t do it overtly, but by planting doubt and fear, the Pharisees turned the people against Jesus. Some of these people would have been at his sermons, might even have witnessed his miracles or experienced his healing power. How quickly people forget when they’re trapped in a hive mind and buoyed along by sentiment.

As we all struggle to deal with the global pandemic that’s upon us, let’s try to remember this. We have Christ as our moral compass. We have His Word to hold on to, to anchor ourselves while the rest of the world is losing its mind. Let’s not give in to the temptation to lash out at our neighbors, let’s not yield to our paranoia, our need for control, our instincts toward self preservation. Let’s hold on instead, to the ever faithful, ever constant Word of God, as we try to navigate ourselves out of these treacherous waters. May the healing power of Christ be on us all.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Sharon Soo)

Prayer: We pray for deliverance from this pandemic. May we come out of this humbler, kinder and with greater self awareness of our shared responsibility towards each other.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all the peacemakers in our lives. We give thanks for those who put the greater good of others over themselves. We give thanks for all the unsung heroes who have taken on the fight to keep us all together during these difficult times.

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