Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday

John 18:1 - 19: 42

Jesus' death at the hands of the alliance of Judean and Roman rulers reveals several important things about this Roman-dominated imperial world. It reveals the extent to which the powerful will go to defend their social, political, economic and religious interests. This alliance between Rome and the Judean priestly rulers in Jerusalem was typical in the Roman Empire whereby Rome exercised control by forming alliances with local ruling elites. They ruled so as to benefit themselves at the expense of the rest. Jesus had challenged their way of doing societal business. In his miraculous actions of healing and feeding people, he began to reverse the damage that the imperial system had caused to many people. Noting how popular Jesus and his teaching and life-giving actions were, they decided that it was better for Jesus to die than to have Rome come and punish them militarily for losing control of this part of the empire (11:45-53). The narrative reveals the strength of self-interested power and intolerance for any threat to it or deviation from it. This narrative reminds those committed today to a society of just inclusion for all groups marginalized by sexual orientation, race, origin or any other factor that the empire always strikes back at those who challenge it.

Yet the gospel does not end at chapter 19 with Jesus dead and buried by the brave Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. His enemies do not have the final word. Chapter 20 waits with its narrative of new life and witness to God's more powerful, merciful, just, inclusive and life-giving purposes.

Prayer of the Day

O Holy One,
we ask you to be with all your people
who resist modern day crucifixions
of hatred and violence in your world.
We ask you to be with the LGBT community in particular
as it seeks to embody a new kind of humanness
in a world of narrow gender constructions and sexualities.
Let the lives of our LGBT sisters and brothers
be bold in the face of persecution,
and faithful to your grace and mercy,
in the midst of a world of relentless "Good Fridays."

Today's meditation and prayer come from Out in Scripture.

No comments: