Friday, March 29, 2013

The Inquiry

An old poem from the perspective of Pontius Pilate, the man who sentenced Jesus Christ to crucifixion.

What fault called Barabbas from his procured vault
While flaying this other with legal assault?
What sin hidd’n within could this rabble have spied
For which this Nazarene so grotesquely died?
Why came no word to his accusers confound? –
Silent even when his blood a sea made the ground.
Never such a quandary in Rome have I seen;
Never have I held a gaze of such stellar sheen.
What was it inside me that stirred at his strength? –
Such power! Though stifled…seemingly somber at length.
Never in my multiple lustrums’ observance
Has my seat been regarded as so void of substance,
So free of performance beyond the taut strings
That seemingly brought to fruition these things.
These proceedings I ordered, the procession I sent –
What cause drove this swited scapegoat as he went?
As he staggered through the Via Dolorosa, the way,
More than just that gnarled cross upon him did lay.
What was it he bore that garnered such spite,
When every limb of the law found him naught but aright?
Did ever one such as this arise, come to preach? –
Speaking of a lone, loving god in our reach?
Oh, the thousand questions, to god, had I asked!
With what purpose was this man from Galilee tasked?
Any hope, any answer, I now only see
As a thin silhouette – Yeshua nailed to a tree.

Like Pilate, you may have some questions about the whole Easter thing. Coming up on Easter weekend, today is Good Friday, the Friday before Easter Sunday when we collectively commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. People tend to wonder why anyone would call something so grievous 'good', and even though it has been heard before, the relevance of John 3:16 bears reiterating.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
We remember and celebrate the crucifixion because it is the point in history when God proved His love for humanity. We all have an inherent brokenness that no amount of human effort has been able to mend. Humanity has been struggling with the effects of Eden's PTSD throughout all of history, looking for happiness and fulfillment everywhere, finding it nowhere. C.S. Lewis put it well in Mere Christianity when he wrote:
All that we call human history--money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery--[is] the long terribly story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.
Can anyone really deny humanity's brokenness? There is something askew in our wiring, and it is not within our power to fix. If it were, we would have done so by now. The fact that we continue to repeat the same troubles and damages throughout all of recorded history proves that this problem is beyond us. Meditation is a booboo-kiss, religion is a band-aid, even humanitarianism in all its beneficence does not fill the God-shaped fragment missing from our construct. Humanity is broken, and no, that is not something we were ever meant to accept. When is settling for less ever a good thing? We were meant for more than...all this.

Thankfully, the God who made humanity loved us too much to leave us in our brokenness, doomed to eternity divided from Him and all He is (life, joy, peace, kindness, faithfulness, love, energy, blessing, goodness, justice, mercy...). Thankfully, the one who has the power to fix our brokenness - our sin - began and ended that redemptive process with the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ.

In Golgotha's bloody display, God denounced every thought and rumor of a distant, uncaring creator.
In the crucifixion, God brought Himself to a human level so He could bring humanity to a Godly level.
In the figure of Jesus, God took our brokenness to the grave, returning three days later with victory, renewal and perfection for those who choose to accept it.
God died temporarily so that we would live eternally.

This is the purpose of Good Friday, and precisely why it is indeed very 'good'.

Please, think on these things. If you feel even the slightest twinge of curiosity, inclination or even indignation after reading this, contact me in whatever form you choose. Comment, Facebook, email...have at it. The Christ's offer is as open to you now as it was when He spoke it:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

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