Parson to Person: A death in the spring
There is something especially poignant about dying in the spring, which is now our time of Lent.
As Jesus came in view of the holiest city of his world, he wept: “O Jeru-shalom, Jeru-shalom (city of peace) that hs known no peace — that has killed the prophets that have come to you.” How true.
You may remember it was the more powerful Sadducees that condemned Jesus in their Sanhedrin. Though Jesus had harsh words for the Pharisees, of whom he was actually one. So, it was some of the latter who warned him not to go to Jerusalem, it was too dangerous. With almost Yiddish humor Jesus said, “Would it do for a prophet to be kileld anywhere but in Jerusalem?” (Which is a bit like asking would it do for a street riot by world-peace meditators to break out anywhere but Fairfield? But then, I only recount what I read in the Register).
We see a touch of this Yiddish stage sarcasm again when Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate. “Art thou the king?” asked Pilate. Jesus: “So I look like a king!” By now Jesus had been lashed by what Horace called “the horrible flagellum — many leather whips, each with barbed pieces of bone protruding from lead weights at the end. Add to that a crown of thorns on his brow — “ So I look like a king?”
Add to this an excruciating crown of thorns pushed down on his brow as he continued, “If I were a king would I not have soldiers defending me? You see any soldiers, your honor?” Intrigued by this Pilate asked, “Then whence art thou (what kind of king are you?)
“For this purpose came I into the world, to bear witness to the truth. All those who are of the truth are members of my kingdom,” said Jesus. Pilate shrugged, “What is truth?”
That question has come alive today. “All truths are relative,” said the academicians in schools I attended, “You can’t be sure of anything!” (Except their little creed they just recited.) Big names for this dogmatizing of doubt would be Deconstructionism or Logical Positivism.
The pain and anguish of Jesus was for our sake. “Surely he was borne our griefs and sorrows. The chastisement for our sin was on him — and by his stripes we are healed,” says the prophet Isaiah in Jesus’s favorite book.
The Danish thinker Soren Kierkegaard said, “As God made us from dust, sometimes he has to reduce us to the same to make us new. The beginning of Lent is Ash Wednesday when ashes are put on our foreheads with the words: Remember that thou art dust. On the whole, I think the humble bear suffering better than the proud.