Did I offend you? Okay, then let’s start there.
Today, Good Friday is an offensive day. Jesus was an offensive guy. At least he was to the law-abiding, righteous living, morality policing first-century, Jewish leaders. His very being was offensive. John 1 has an “in yo face” tone as the writer states “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us”. For some, the idea that the Divine could become dirty, temporal, flesh, was the equivalent to saying God became shit. Did you cringe? Yea me too. But that’s how the Gnostics must have felt. (Thanks to Kris Rocke for teaching me this important point years ago). Why would the holy, pure, Creator of the universe choose to put on dirty, sinful flesh? To be like ME?
Fast forward thirty and some odds year later, and now we’re about to send this brown-skinned man – who was found innocent by the way – to a public, slow, and humiliating death? I clutch pearls and cover my mouth with a kerchief. Vulgar. Humiliating. Uncouth. Barbaric. Disrespectful. How dare I connect the sacred death of Jesus to a word that only pagans use.
I’m not trying to be shocking or disrespectful, believe it or not. I’m trying to call it like it was. Good Friday was a violent death of the rabbi I have since staked my life, career, heart, mind, and soul on.
But this Good Friday is offensive for so many more reasons. I’m offended for Alton Sterling’s family and friends. I’m offended for Stephon Clark’s family because he was shot in the back 6 times by police, found holding only his cell phone that he was using in his grandmother’s backyard. I’m offended that children had to flood the streets in protest because we adults have failed their safety at schools we require them to attend.
I’m angry for my friends and family that are having a hard time finding relief from chronic pain, cancer, and internal unrest. I want to cry out for them because I can do nothing else to fix the pain. I’m also offended for those that the evangelical church has marginalized (please don’t make me list them all, this is a short blog). I’m offended by how the church at large has continued to ignore, dismiss, use and abuse, women, people of color, sexual minorities, children, differently abled, single moms, teen moms, immigrants, the poor, and the homeless. Oh, but you want their pictures on your website?
I’m offended for and with those who suffer. However, this post suddenly feels thin compared to the depth of pain. I can’t fully capture my anger or sadness in a blog post. But I don’t need to. That is the beauty of today. Jesus knows. Jesus suffered too. Jesus suffers with us. Jesus sits with us in our pain. Honestly, that may be the best news I can imagine some days: the perfect, holy, and loving God loves me enough to sit with me in my shit.