Monday, April 02, 2007
The Cross VI
From Matt. 27
The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. “Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, if you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross!” The leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders also mocked Jesus. “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! So he is the King of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in him! He trusted God, so let God rescue him now if he wants him! For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”
Even if I thought the men I saw hanging on crosses enduring horror upon horror deserved their fate, I hope I would have turned my eyes and hurried by, or prayed for the poor wretches, or comforted the weeping mother. The fact that passersby added to the indignation and suffering is almost more than I can imagine. What, I wonder, caused them to need to heap additional insults and scorn?
Note that the leading priests, the religious teachers and the elders join in. At last their enemy is finished. Not content, they make themselves feel bigger and stronger and more powerful by calling attention to how God is not rescuing him. Ah, aren't we right, after all?
Might we, perhaps on a smaller scale, sometimes have the same sin in our own hearts? Nothing is more spiteful than a spiteful religious person who is convinced they are correct and must draw attention to their "rightness."
Merciful God, forgive us for the times we, in our misguided zeal, felt we had to be "right" and in that quest did not even see that we pushed others away. Help us never to seek to feel bigger by making someone else feel smaller. May we recognize cruelty if it lurks in our own hearts. May we have mercy on those in pain, may we be willing to be silent, even when we think we are right, and may love characterize us much more than our correct doctrine or proper worship or eloquent prayers. May others "know we are Christians by our love." Amen