Today we pause to memorialize Your divine dying and with it our death-loving selves.
You came to us, Jesus, the God-Man of heaven to preach good news to the poor, to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and the loosening of bonds to those in chains and the acceptable day of the Lord. And we could not receive You in such a holy manner. We could not have You come in goodness and truth and generous love. It was too much for our death-loving selves, our dying world, our darkness-ridden lives to take You in as You are.
So we marred Your countenance, shamed Your body, in a self-natured attempted to beat heaven out of You and condemn You to a small plot of earth. You were just being Yourself. And we were just being ours.
Today, Abba, we acknowledge that this is not our first action of insisting on evil rather than Your good.
Remember the days of Eden? The blissful walks through the garden, pushing back abundant foliage to keep cantor with Your Divine Self. But the days ended milena too soon, as one edible lie was taken and given. At the tree of Good and Evil, we insisted on evil. And we are still unrecovered.
Our fallenness carried us to the patriarchs and prophets; to the days of refusing ears and stoned hearts. You called us to listened to Isaiah, and we threw him in a cistern, hating the offer of our salvation. You called Jonah to go to Nineveh, and we along with him, hated the idea of their salvation. We have always insisted on us, our, mine. We have always insisted on taking, hiding, stealing, refusing. We have always insisted on evil.
And even at Your birth, where heaven crashed with earth in Your little baby body, lying in a feeding trough on some molding hay, we were not awaiting, welcoming, worshiping You. We had to be beckoned off the fields, out of our homes, away from our more important tasks to Your manger side. You had to call us from distant lands through our cosmic watching to bring You petty gifts that were already Yours. And that was only a few of us. We are mostly Herod; scheming, deceiving, unbelieving. We hated the idea of Your kingdom unseen, and even more the reality of ours being part of it. So we smiled politely at Your people to ask if might worship, too. But rather than folded hand, we folded a dagger behind our backs, a dagger to be set to any of Your kind. What is the blood of babies to another year as king? We insisted on Evil.
At Your cross is no exception. The trees Your formed, we forced You to carry. We nailed You by Your wrists and feet because Deity must be kept in place. Your goodness illuminated our darkness far too much, and You said Yourself that we love it so. So this cross should be no surprise to You. Because we have always insisted on Evil.
And at this day of Your death, I remember we continue in our ways. Wouldn’t it be nice to say that we’re different today? That we, too, have been Eastered?
There were babies in Aschaffenburg. Mommies and daddies, too. We put them there, Your people, because … well, just because. “Work will set you free” is a cruel joke to those who only entered in.
Planes into towers is common language now. Cars that explode, churches that burn, roadside bombings are commonplace in our world of insisting. “Us” and “them” means black and white, Shiite and Sunni, Christian and pagan, chauvinist and feminist, democrat and republican. The lines have been drawn. Pick your camp. Choose wisely. Some are still one-way check-ins.
And today, the day of Your dying, we still insist on Evil.
We insist our leisure at the cost of the poor, on our opulence at the expense of the underpaid. We insist on keeping our world happy and prosperous and white. We insist that the children continue to be trafficked, the poor continued to be oppressed, the homeless continue on the streets, the AIDS-wracked mother continue to die.
So heal us, dying Jesus. Heal us with the holiness we rejected. Light us with Yourself. Insist on our healing, on our redemption, on our Resurrection.
Insist this Friday be Good.
Because we’re an insisting people, and we have yet to insist on You.