One of the visually most interesting “fight scenes” that I have seen occurs in the second Matrix movie where Agent Smith (a then renegade computer program) attempts to take on the hero of the story – Neo. He does this by cloning more and more copies of himself which Neo has to try to fight. And with state of the art computer graphics and interesting choreography, we get hundreds of “Agent Smiths” fighting Neo. In the end, Neo isn’t defeated but exits before he is overwhelmed.
What a metaphor for many people when it comes to seriously engaging their faith today. Is faith important? Sure. But there are groceries, pharmacies to visit, dry cleaning to get done, clothes to buy, taxes to file, jobs to keep up with, friendships to keep engaged, houses to clean, cars to maintain (I could keep going….see all those “Agent Smiths” lining up?). And prayer, communion, reading Scripture, and being involved in faith based communities seem each like more Agent Smiths crowding in our schedules. We want to, like Neo ends up doing in that scene, flying away.
In the end, Neo beats Agent Smith. But he does so by transforming him. And so faith in Jesus Christ can do for all of us. It can speak to, inform, and help prioritize everything we engage in life.
Jesus, in Jerusalem during the first Holy Week, didn’t go there to make our schedules even more busy and our lives even more complex. He gave us a way to prioritize, grow, and engage and even transform our world.
We can’t get rid of the Agent Smiths. Not yet. But we can manage them. And we don’t have to run from them. Because the battles we fight we don’t fight alone.
Let’s again listen to the words of Jesus in that last week in his life. Let’s take the time to read the story of the Last Supper (particularly in John where we get lots more of his words). Let’s re-read what he said and taught inside and outside the Temple. Let’s pray. Let’s gather for worship. And let us remember God has placed us here and now with reason. How is God helping us to engage the world that is crowding in around us? He has answers if we seek.
Food for thought on Holy Monday,