As Maundy Thursday nears, and Good Friday looms ominously in the distance,
And Easter seems like a naïve dream, an impossibility we scheme up to feel more secure
I have to ask—why?
Let’s go with some traditional atonement theories:
Jesus conquered sin and death.
You required a blood sacrifice, your own Son, to be more specific.
Jesus beat the devil in an epic cosmic battle
Jesus was the new Passover Lamb—the scapegoat for all of humanity.
Perhaps it should be easy to accept some of these: theories, explanations, dogmas
Jesus is the ultimate example of love shown to one’s friends.
He died to be a moral example for all of humanity.
But is it so ridiculous or heretical or blasphemous to say—
I want to talk about, focus on, respond to, live out—
The life and teachings of Jesus Christ?
Because maybe his death wasn’t supposed to be the focus at all—
Maybe it was all just a tragedy.
The Romans. The Pharisees. The Sanhedrin.
He knew that he was in trouble; he tried to warn his friends,
But his words rang hollow to them.
And this focus on his horrific death also rings a bit hollow,
When you compare his death to his life.
Jesus was a martyr—he died a violent, bloody death, was punished as if he were a
rebellious slave or political insurrectionist.
But Jesus was a—teacher, healer, rabbi, friend, son, brother, prophet.
A person, and yet we place him in sacrificial categories of animals: scapegoats, paschal lambs?
So I have to ask—why?
Why the death of your only begotten Son in that manner?
Why the grim fascination with his death and the way it occurred?
The faithful are not immune.
We want to weep every Good Friday, and do.
We want to scream at humanity—
Why the violence?
And the hatred?
And the bloody sacrifice of innocent human lives that we conveniently explain away with our dogmas and theories?
Let us think of the injustice of Christ’s innocent suffering and innocent suffering today.
Let us be appalled by lame explanations and justifications.
And the images these repugnant theories reflect back onto you, O God—
that you’re sadistic, sick, twisted, petty, a child abuser, merciless.
When I know you to be a God of mercy, kindness, compassion, grace, love, peace.
Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer, we cling to the Incarnation.
That his cross was also your cross.
Do the reasons for Christ’s death matter?
Of course they do,
But then again, maybe not as much as you feeling his pain and agony.
You were not a passive observer, you were there, through all of it.
You were there when they crucified our Lord, weeping.
My God, my God, Christ was not forsaken—not by you.
And you never abandoned him.
And you never abandon us.
-Rev. Lauren Lorincz