On this Crucifying Friday we gather to remember Jesus’ Crucifixion that took place long ago and as we do, we gather to name and engage the crucifixions of our time. Christ is crucified again and again … and again! Remember when the Spirit of Jesus confronted the persecuting Saul on that Damascus road? Jesus did not say, “Why are you persecuting them?” He said, “Why are you persecuting me?” In other words Jesus takes what we do to each other personally. This is especially true when the most vulnerable are the victims. As Jesus said, “What you do to the least of these you do to me.”
Therefore Jesus’ Crucifixion 2 000 years ago is more than a historical event. It is an archetypal lens. It is the Crucifixion archetype that is true the world over. According to the Crucifixion archetype whenever expedient politicians (backed by an unquestioning military), oligarch influencers and a self-serving religious establishment get together, society is soon to be littered with crucifixions of the poor and vulnerable who are scapegoated for the sins of this unholy trinity.
The Crucifixion archetype further reveals that people (especially religious people) have a tendency to crucify today’s messiahs while worshipping the messiahs of yesteryear. It is a perverse form of salvation (liberation) nostalgia that is a stumbling block to salvation (liberation) in the present. In other words we act like Herod today while praising Jesus of long ago. We act like Pharaoh today while praising Moses of even longer ago. We act like the KKK today while praising MLK jr. We act like the Apartheid regime today while we sing praises about the liberation struggle. We steal from the pensions of the poor while we call for radical economic transformation. Beneath the rhetoric of our worship we hide our acts of betrayal. And even this can be hidden from ourselves, such are the depths of our self-deception.
If Jesus’ Crucifixion recorded in the gospels does not illuminate the crucifixions recorded in today’s newspapers then we are denying the Crucifixion of old by the way we remember it.
This is true all over the world. This year we think especially of the civilian executions and bombed out communities of Ukraine. We think too of the economic war against the unemployed poor of our own land (See Sunday post from two weeks ago).
Today we gather beneath the wondrous Cross of the wounded one…
I invite you to carve out time today to name and hold vigil with the wounded of the world. Those who literally carry the sins (deathly actions) of the world in their living…
With grace, Alan