Movie of the Week: Jesus Christ Superstar by Norman Jewison 1973
Clip: 12:30 – 14:30 “Strange Thing Mystifying”
Old Testament: Psalm 149
New Testament: John 12:1-11
In the brief, confrontational song “Strange Thing Mystifying,” we see another one of Judas’ struggles with Jesus come to light. How could he waste time and money on this woman? “It seems a strange thing, mystifying; that a man like you can waste his time on a woman of her kind.” In our pluralistic world of tolerance, the words “her kind” make us bristle. The very thought of judging someone with such a dismissive and derisive tone makes us cringe.
But if we are honest, there are probably people we (probably subconsciously) dismiss “their kind.” Racism remains a problem for many people. If you’ve never taken an implicit bias test, take a few minutes and take one like you can find here (you have to submit email address). We don’t like to admit it, but we subtly judge every person we interact with based on our past experiences, personalities, upbringing and prejudices. It is impossible to see Jesus judging anyone along these lines, and as we seek to know him, we seek to overcome our biases and prejudices. Our country has certainly improved race relations since the days of slavery, but we are reminded constantly of how hatred and prejudice remain a pervasive reality for many people.
At the heart of overcoming prejudice and bias is to broaden our social circle to include people who are different from us and who have had different experiences. This requires us to leave the comfort of familiar. Spend some honest time reflecting on the kinds of people that you are least comfortable with. Who are the people that you are most likely to look down on or judge? Race receives much of our attention (and rightfully so), but we judge and label people for several reasons: education, vocation, marital status, age, sex, income, and so on. Don’t limit your thoughts to simply skin color: how comfortable are you with people older than you or younger? Do you tend to listen to someone more closely if they make more money or have a higher education? Do you dismiss people because they aren’t married or don’t have children? Does where people shop or their fashion make a difference in what you think about them? Confess to God times when you dismiss people of a certain “kind,” and make a point today to do or say something kind to someone who is different than you.