Lessons of Good Friday
The God of Love; Personal Journal Entry, #58
April 13, 2017:
There is value contained in religious texts. One need not be a Jew, a Christian, or a Muslim to benefit from ancient lessons. Faith, is not required.
My favorite passage from the Bible:
Matthew 25:31–46King James Version (KJV)
31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
For the faithful:
These words mean the most despised among us, languishing in prison for hideous crimes, remain vessels of God. They should be visited and ministered to.
This is a difficult message for Christians. Even ministers in the church will rarely preach compassion for someone like Charles Manson. Yet, the words that define the faith clearly promise everlasting punishment for hating, for dehumanizing, or for simply ignoring someone like Charles Manson.
The Christian has no authority to judge another human being. Every person is a unique, unrepeatable, masterpiece of the most high God. Every person contains divinity.
Christians should revile hatred itself. To dehumanize, to cast out, to despise another human being is diametrically opposed to the teachings of the Gospels.
Yet, many Christians are quick to say, “killing is not good enough for…whoever — a serial killer, a terrorist, a rapist, etc.”
Or, “Damn right build a wall, keep those Mexicans out — come here taking our jobs…they need to fix their own country’s problems, not sponge off us”
Children crossing deserts on foot, seeking sanctuary here in the US. The modern Christian answer: build a wall to keep them out, not our problem.
Claiming to be a Christian does not make you a follower of Christ. Actions define.
For those without faith:
Jesus was tortured and crucified on Good Friday. For what? What was his crime?
His crime was being the son of carpenter while claiming divine knowledge. He spoke of peace and love. His message ignored, the messenger judged ludicrous. So ludicrous, he should be put to a hideous death.
The truth spoken by an ordinary man, in defiance of those whose hands possessed no callouses. The talkers. The money changers in the temple. The pale-skinned people who shunned laboring in the fields to get their daily bread. The hypnotists able to convince the masses of their superior value — worthy of exultation.
The smartest men in the room. The exalted members of the cult of Goldman Sachs. Their message: Hate the Mexicans, they are to blame. Hate the terrorist, he is not human — he is evil. Hate the Muslim, they are to blame. Blame everyone but us, the very successful — we are clearly the chosen — trust us, believe in us.
How easy it is for human beings to be manipulated and distracted from the truth. To embrace hatred and allow their hatred to cloud rational thought.
Christ was crucified on Good Friday because he was ordinary and his message threatened the comfort of those in power.
A tragic theme repeated over and over again throughout history. Being repeated again, today.
Piety, has callouses.
Value the words of a carpenter, who knows how make things…how to build a house to keep people alive. Ignore the money changers who claim indispensable brilliance. Question the soft-handed talkers or the writers who know nothing else. Credit Default Swaps…indeed. Homelessness, is not an intractable problem.
The priests who wear long robes in our modern church wish you to believe it so.