Today is Good Friday, and it is one of the most sobering days in the year for anyone who is paying attention in Christendom. It marks the day in which we, as a people, heaped all of our anger and suspicion and jealousy and cowardice on one man and nailed him to a cross to die as a common criminal. The crime? He dared to show us a new way of being. He dared to show us a path out of darkness and into light. He dared to love.
And for that, we killed him.
I am tired of those who always want to say, “The Jews killed Jesus.” Yo, Christians: we were the Jews!! This finger-wagging at “the other” removes the true nature of our own culpability in the build-up of such hatred. And we continue to do it today when we fail to do the right thing in the face of prejudice and discrimination. It’s like Pilate washing his hands and saying, “Oh, well, y’all want to put him to death. Not my decision.” Accept it, folks: we turned our backs on God…and we still do.
And yet, even in our most violent aggression against God (since, as Christians, we have to recognize that our belief calls for us to accept that Jesus is God in our human form), there’s a second chance.
Through his death on the cross, God gives a release from this pressure cooker of pain and anger and angst that we’ve put him in. Not only does he give up his own body for the cause of redemption, he says, “It is finished”. The “it” for me, the non-theologically-educated-lay-lesbian-in-the-pew, is the act of washing us clean of our rage and granting us…all of us of every political, social, sexual stripe…the open invitation to eternal life here on earth. His job of bringing us closer to the Kingdom is finished. And ours now begins….if….if…if….we are willing to accept it. We are redeemed. Just say, Yes.
OK…now, for anyone reading who thinks the story of Christ is a bunch of bull…I’ve said before that my belief system is Christ-centered, but I am ever mindful that there is no one and only way to a relationship with the Higher Conscience.
For those of us who came to find faith and meaning in this world through Jesus, remember that when he says “I am the Way”, he is not saying “Me! Me! Me!”; he is saying, “My way of being (which begins with “Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God. The Lord is One” and then is followed with love your neighbor) is the way of God”. Let’s practice that way. Let’s not condemn people to hell for not thinking like we do. Let’s not marginalize people for being different from us. Let’s stop the madness of state legislation banning the wearing of baggy pants.
As the Buddhists say, “Be the light you wish to see in the world!”
Do we dare?