I travelled a thread today on a blog, and found myself yet again, deep in the heart of hatred that exists for some in the Christian community. It was amazing how much venom some can spew out of their keyboards at people they don't even know, simply because the other has been open and honest enough to share their faith, and to share their personal struggles, questions and doubts. What is most frustrating for me is to find that the greatest amount of anger towards Christians that I have found on the internet... comes from other Christians.
Today is "Good" Friday. The name requires some interpretation. For Christians, with a certain view of the Atonement, Friday is Good because it is the day that Jesus paid for the sins of the world, where Jesus reconciled the world to God. But the oringination of the term is actually from "God's" Friday in English. It's referred to with different names in different languages. If you go to a service today, or possibly last night on Maundy Thursday (provided it wasn't a foot washing service) you may experience a lot of darkness, shadows, solemnity. A somber mood is set as we remember Jesus, the one who prophetically called for the dismantleing of religious practices and institutions that separated and divided, bruised, beaten and brutalized - then hammered to a wooden cross to hang and die - in the dark.
I often wonder, if it was 2007 when Jesus had been crucified, who would be shouting up to him on the cross? Who would have been the leaders who secretly banded together, who conspired to put him to death? And I cannot help but come to those of us, those religious, pious, holy people who believe they posess all the answers - that anyone else is wholly "un-orthodox" as if orthodoxy, as if the gospel is a commodity that could be bartered or sold. It is the arrogant, self-rightouess, "saints" whom Jesus called into question, is it not? Those who could draw their lineage from Abraham, those proud people who could trace their theology to the true meaning. It were those people, whom Jesus challenged. Meanwhile, it was with the "sinners and tax-collecters" that Jesus spent his time. It was with those that are on the outside that Jesus welcomed in.
Good Friday is a great day to take stock of ourselves, to allow the light of Christ to shine brightly on our lives in such a way that we truly submit - submit to the fact that at the end of the day - WE COULD BE WRONG. Our hope? Jesus. Our message? Jesus. Our salvation? Jesus. It rests not on our brilliance, our knowledge, our properly aligned doctrine or cunningly sophisticated rhetoric. All that we are as Christians rests solely on Jesus. And it pains me to no end when we turn our sights towards the world, towards those in our own community whom we disagree with, but who are earnestly seeking and hoping in the same Jesus Christ - OUR Lord - when we turn our sights to them and attack them. As I often heard from the pulpit at BAPC "We will be surprised with 3 things when we get to heaven - 1) who's there 2) who's not there and 3) that WE'RE there."
On this holy day, the day that we remember the suffering and agony which God endured for us, maybe we can be a little more compassionate to those prophetic voices in our midst who might actually have a word from this God to us today - a word that we may have yet to live into...