I have read that story hundreds of times but I still get choked up when I read it now. It never gets old. I have read it from the pulpit. I have read it in every different gospel account we have of it. I have read it in the morning, and at night by candlelight. I've read it as we've stripped the sanctuary, removed everthing in the whole place that was symbolic of Christ. I've watched it on the big screen and in more than one documentary. It never gets old. It's the crucifixion scene in Mark's gospel.
I try to put myself in the scene...hear the sounds...see the sights...watch the anger of the crowd, and the pain of his family. I have wanted to be a fly on the wall as Pilate tried to decide his fate, and watch him waffle between doing what was right and pacifying an angry mob to keep Rome off of his back. I have sat with a broken heart and read about how those leading the church also led the charge to have the Son of God murdered, and I've said before that it wasn't the Jews that killed him, it was fear. I have wondered what was going through Judas' mind when he realized that the scene unfolding before him was not at all what he had intended, but that now it was way too late to stop it.
It's almost like watching a train wreck. You want to turn away, but you just can't. You want to stop reading, but are somehow drawn back into the story. We've read it enough now that we know how it ends, but we read it over and over again. And the description we get of the brutality doesn't even scratch the surface. I can't imagine what he went through...and why. Then I think about what we have turned it into.
Politics...heated discussions over which type of worship is best...watered down gospel so as not to offend...cliques...parking lot meetings...it's like watching a train wreck. You don't want to watch, but you can't look away. Oh it's not everywhere, certainly, but it's in enough places, and it keeps us from being the resurrection people we have been called to be.
Maybe I'm just a sentamentalist, I don't know. Maybe I'm still new enough at this that I'm overly optimistic and naive. Maybe it's just that Christmas is just around the corner and Easter is on the horizon. Maybe I have realized that I have, at most, 32 years left in my career to make all of the difference I can for the kingdom. Maybe I have realized that I'm just as much a part of the problem and want to be part of the solution instead.
Whatever it is, it has made me look at this scene differently today, and I ask you to do the same.