06
Apr
20

What would YOU do?

Palm-Sunday-processionalWhat if?

What if you KNEW – with all the confidence you could muster – that things were going to turn out badly?

What if – more specifically – you knew that the path your friend was walking would lead him to a horrible, humiliating death before the week was over?

What if you loved this friend profoundly … in a way that surpassed any love you’ve ever felt before?

And what if you also knew that your friend could easily avoid the horror that waited down his road… that all he needed to do was to just…

… ease up,

… back off,

… dial it down a little?

What would you do?

This is the question I spend every Holy Week trying to avoid. I avoid this question because it frightens me.

It frightens me because I have a pretty good idea what my answer would be.

If I ever had the guts to confront the question, that is.

I suspect that if I had been in the shoes of 11 of the 12 disciples that first Holy Week (all of them except Judas), I would have dealt with the events of that week exactly the same way they did.

In avoidance.

In denial.

In rationalization.

In all likelihood, my self-talk would have gone something like, “Surely it won’t be that bad. Surely, he will work something out. Surely his predictions of his own arrest and torture and death were hyperbole… statements made for dramatic effect.”

I would have been encouraged and excited by the palm processional the day before. “Look how much they love him! Surely, they would not DARE to arrest someone this popular. He was just being a little overly sensitive, wasn’t he?”

No… if I were to own up to my striking resemblance to those first disciples, it would require owning up to something else: a fundamental misunderstanding of Jesus’ mission and message.

It would require me to stand up in front of the world and say, “Sorry… I just can’t seem to get ‘on board’ with this whole ‘to die is to live’ platform. It really just seems unnecessarily harsh and painful. Let’s just all try a little harder to be a little better, shall we?”

And then, as that Good Friday morning dawned and that rooster began to crow, I would look over to find myself standing where no one ever wants to be found…

… standing right beside Peter; the one who denied Jesus three times.

 

So, let me ask: what would YOU do?


3 Responses to “What would YOU do?”


  1. April 7, 2020 at 12:27 am

    Wow. That’s something to think about. I’d like to think I’m “ride or die,” but … easier to say in my 2020 comfort and ease.

  2. April 8, 2020 at 11:24 am

    As an atheist who believes that Jesus may perhaps have existed but that his true story has been lost to myth and legend…

    I read your words as an allegorical reference to current times. The ‘horror that lies just down the road’ is one that will afflict Gaia, and therefore homo fatuus brutus — and I can’t fail to love ‘him’ in a way that surpasses any other because I am one with ‘him’. A lot of people who recognise that all this will turn out badly are exhibiting exactly the features you suggest: avoidance, denial and rationalisation.

    I’m talking about climate change. And if we don’t stand up to be counted, I see no path that doesn’t lead to the eventual death of our entire species.

    • April 8, 2020 at 4:07 pm

      Spot on. I really appreciate your effort to bridge our theological differences and tease out a message that applies to you and your context. I call that an act of generosity on your part! And I absolutely agree with you on the seriousness of the climate change situation.


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