Reality vs Illusion

Reality vs Illusion


Rev. Alex Shea Will is the Area Conference Minister for the Northeast Region, of the Southern New England Conference.

Scripture:  John 18:33-37 (NRSV)

Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ Jesus answered, ‘Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?’ Pilate replied, ‘I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?’ Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.’ Pilate asked him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’

Reflection: Reality vs Illusion

We often use “truth” as a synonym for “fact.” And that would be correct. But one of the additional ways we can understand the Greek word for truth is more closely related to the word “reality.” Truth, in that sense, is understood as the opposite of illusion. And we are surrounded by a world of illusion.
We are surrounded by the illusion that more power will make us stronger and safer. We are surrounded by the illusion that more money will make us happier. We are surrounded by the illusion that more beauty will help us find the love that we long for inside. We are surrounded by the illusion that more for you means less for me. Yet when we finally attempt to take hold of these illusions we find that they dissolve in our hands, nothing more than wisps of air and deceptions of the eye.
This coming Sunday we will mark Reign of Christ (sometimes called Christ the King) Sunday. There can be a temptation to ignore this day in our calendar, but when we do we miss the opportunity to be reminded that Christ calls out to us if we can listen for his voice. Christ calls out to testify to the Kingdom that is more than wisps of air and truer than any of the empty promises of illusion. Christ reminds us of a reality in which our weakness is our strength, the lowly are lifted up, the peacemakers lead us, and all have a seat at the banquet feast of God.


Will you pray with me?
Attune our ears to your voice, Holy One, and invite us to see and embody your reality in the midst of illusion. In Jesus’ name, amen.

New Prayer Requests:

We ask churches and church leaders to join us in the following prayers either by sharing them during worship, printing them in bulletins, or sharing them in some other way. To make a prayer request, please contact Drew Page at

Prayers of Intercession:

  • For the victims and their families of the 625 mass shootings already carried out in 2021
  • For the families and friends of more than 759,000 who have died due to the Covid-19 disease

Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:

  • For those who selflessly help their neighbors

 This Week in History:

November 17, 1421 (600 years ago) A massive storm in the North Sea battered the European coast in what is now Netherlands. An estimate 10,000 people died in the resulting floods. The failed dikes design to protect the small towns and cities along the coast were completely destroyed and would not be rebuild for almost 80 years. Parts of what is now Netherlands were underwater for decades before work began on new dikes. The resulting flooding devastated the city of Dort, wiped 20 villages off the map, and permanently separated the town of Dordrecht from the mainland.

“Study the past if you would define the future.”

alex shea-will - collar.jpg
Alex Shea Will

Rev. Shea Will accompanies clergy, congregations, and committees as they live the love and justice of Jesus in ways that honor their unique contexts and gifts. In this work he is guided by relationship building, traditioned innovation, and covenantal...

November 15, 2021
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