So if the church has a desire for power or ignores the poor, when it participates in hate and when it perpetuates abuse, it crucifies its Lord all over again.
I hate this. I loathe the child abuse and the ‘God hates fags’ signs. At its worst, the church has a nasty habit of punching down, which it can only do from a position of power. And, as everyone who loves a cliche knows, power corrupts.
Ironically, Good Friday is a case in point. Religious and political power structures, conspiracies and the mob’s thirst for blood all combine to send Jesus stumbling towards Calvary. And if you think it’d turn out differently in 21st century Britain (or America, or Australia, or…) then you’re more optimistic than I am.
Good Friday shows how Easter is reclaimed by laying down all the things that get in its way. The Son of God sets heaven aside for a cross. He sets power aside for a vicious beating. He sets worship aside and ends up hanging next to a couple of dying revolutionaries. And yet in doing so, he brings salvation.
This is a choice we have to make. Maybe not execution (although check your privilege and think about those living under ISIS), but death to self, death to power, death to violence, death to hard. That’s an individual choice, but it’s also corporate. All those choices mushed up together turn into the church, and we want the world to see that as the Body of Christ, not a zombified corpse with no resemblance to Jesus. We can be the thief who, slowly dying, continues to hurl anger and bile, or we can be the thief who asks for, and receives, the forgiveness of God.
Or, to put it another way, Jesus needs to be our Saviour, not just our mascot.
“A king who dies on the Cross,” Dietrich Bonhoffer once noted, “must be the king of a rather strange kingdom.” That forces us to ssk a question: What kingdom do we really want to live in?
Before we do that, we need to look down and see what’s in our hands.
Are we carrying a cross?
Or are we carrying nails and a hammer?