Friday 29 March 2013

'Good' Friday? Hope amidst Despair on Tunstall Hill

I hate the way it is called 'Good' Friday. In reality, it sucks big time. The Romans and Jewish authorities ganged up on a good man, a man preaching revolution (repentance = to turn things around) a man preaching Non-Violence.

For challenging the greed, militarism and violence evident in his society, Jesus got creamed during the Jewish equivalent of Christmas, the Passover festival. Not only that, but it was one of his best mates that threw him to the wolves.

Jesus may have known it would all end in tears - you don't turn over the tables and say that Caesar is not God without realising what that means - but clearly he would have preferred a different route if at all possible.

Yet his death is seen as 'Good'. Those that think that it was a sacrifice for them, to 'bridge' the gap between 'mans' sin and God, may well think it was a 'Good' day. But I don't think so. I think the joy needs to be reserved for Easter day, when we realise that it is God's love that overcomes death.

For now, I just want to weep that the kindly ones are often beaten and abused by the state. I weep for the Romeros, the MLKs the Victor Jara's and the unknown millions of men and women who resist evil and are then killed by those who hold power.

And so today, on Tunstall Hill, I wept. We watched the cross hammered into place. Hundreds were there, and though the mood was jubilant, and it was heartening to see so many witnessing to their faith, I wept at the foot of the cross.

The fact that the cross has been turned into a sign of hope is a miracle in itself. The cross is an instrument of torture - a highly visible way for the Roman occupiers to say 'one false move, and we will crush you'.

Now - it is genuinely a sign of hope and even of joy. This is truly a 'swords into ploughshares' achievement, and proof that even in the deepest depths of despair, we must always be prepared to hope and work for a miracle.

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