A Lenten Reflection

18 March 2017

Jesus is standing, even now, as he did before Pilate and Herod,
silent before the secular rulers of the world.
Jesus stands, silent, before the self-righteous religious people.
Those religious people who are so wrapped up in their own ways
and their own version of the Truth.

Jesus stands, silent, before the whole world.

Everyone - you and me, too....
Just as he did all those years ago, he stands today accused...
Yet, in his silence, in fact it is he who accuses us.

The powers of this world, the leaders, the politicians,
challenge Jesus in exactly the same way he was challenged in the Wilderness:
Speak, why don't you? Act? Save yourself.
Surrender to us. To our power. Our truth. Our reality.
But all they hear is silence.

So they try another tack:
If you exist, I will believe in you.
Answer me. Answer my questions, my concerns.
I am an important person, I deserve to be answered.
I demand you answer me...
If you do not answer me,
the way I think i deserve to be answered,
I will not believe you exist. So there.
I will carry on making my own rules.

So Pilate - and our worldly powers today,
and the self-righteous religious -
wash their hands of God
and throw him to the mercy of the people.
The crowd.
Us.

And what do we do?
We reject him.
We betray him.
We would rather allow thieves and murderers and tyrants
free to do what they want...
to plunder and abuse us all over again.

And Jesus carries on just standing there.
Quietly.
Looking at us.
Wondering when we will actually notice him?
Properly notice him?
Recognise him for what he is.
Not what we want him to be.

But we don't.
Humankind doesn't.
Again and again we betray him.
Every day, in every way, we, humankind,
betray him.
Because, heaven forfend we should ever
step out of line with the world
and the way the world insists it should be run.

But that's partly what Jesus' silence is all about.
He is leaving a space for us to step into.
To step out of line from the rest of them.
When the rest of them all cry "Barabbas!"
He asks that we be the lone voice crying "Jesus!"
When everyone else cries: "Crucify!"
We, alone cry: "Love!"

Instead of shouting at Jesus, condemning him,
besieging him with demands,
blaming him for our frustrations and misguided agendas,
we need to take the time and the trouble to look upon his face...
Return his gaze...
Listen to his breathing...
Become aware of his heartbeat...
And share his silence.
Amen