Pilate asked him, “What is truth?” (John 18:38a)
It is the Wednesday of Holy Week. The final day before our story really picks up pace – for more happens in the span of the eighteen hours between Thursday night and Friday afternoon than in most weeks of Jesus’ life. We are following him into the terror of the shade and Golgotha looms large on the horizon.
And so it goes for many of God’s prophets. They speak God’s truth to the world and find themselves hated, disowned, killed for it. The fact that Jesus was falsely accused of blasphemy and sedition does not matter to his tormentors any more than the truth he preached. For when we lose sight of the truth, facts also lose their potency.
Tomorrow night, we will gather to remember the Last Supper and the incredible realties with which one man grappled two thousand years ago. There are many roles we can play in the narrative and we are invited to do just that. To explore our place.
Here is one role that many of us would not consider taking: the soldier with the hammer in his hands. We do not want that role. We want no responsibility. But ultimately, that is our true place in the story.
Humans have always found ever more creative ways to kill and maim one another. We have done it to countless of our brothers and sisters, fellow children of God, throughout history. We did it to the prophets. We still do. And yes, we have prepared a cross for our Savior.
God comes to us, time and time again throughout history. In the scriptures, it is clearly visible how we spurn God’s offers of grace and new life. In the historical witness, it is even more clear how easily we can dehumanize and destroy one another.
So when God came, as a human, it should be no surprise that this was the fate we chose.
Why? Because we often still do.
We uphold the systems that Jesus spent his life fighting against. We have remained silent as innocent people are taken into custody and put into cages. We let ourselves be blind to deadly ignorance and practices of making money off of others pain. We turn away from the suffering that we may not directly cause, but from which we often benefit. Oh yes, we have prepared a cross for our Savior. For every time we do these things to anyone, even the least of these who are God’s children, we drive the nails in deeper.
Now, there is a bright morning coming in a few days time. A new beginning. A chance again at new life.
My prayer is that as we enter into the joy of Easter morning, we will not forget the pain and torment of the previous week. That our eyes and ears will finally open to see the truth that God still speaks into our world. And that our hearts will find the strength necessary to work for the change, the transformation of the world, that God has always desired.