Friday, April 02, 2010

Regicide vox Populi

Today is the day Christians observe the death of Christ, Good Friday. According to Scripture and Christian theology, on this day Jesus the Christ, the only begotten Son of God, culminated His mission on Earth as the Messiah and King of Kings, by dying on the cross on false charges of insurrection against Rome, after several sham trials, beatings, and a whipping that tore open His back. The day was shameful for Humanity in virtually every respect, and it is no surprise that memory of the event makes people angry. Jews resent the parts in Scripture where the people and the Levites in Jerusalem rejected Christ and demanded His death though they knew Him innocent and righteous, non-believers resent the account of His courage and resurrection, and even some Christians shrink from the fact that every one of Christ’s disciples and followers fell short of their duty when He was taken – Judas betrayed Christ, all the disciples fled, and the chief among them, Peter, denied even knowing Jesus. And the women, though they held little power, followed close enough to watch the crucifixion and were there when the angels announced His resurrection, also fled at His capture and did nothing to hinder either the Romans or the Levites or the men who plotted against Christ. I say this not in condemnation of any of these groups, but to observe the frank fact that all Humanity was guilty of Christ’s murder, and if you or I were there at the time we would have done no different than these we judge villains in the matter. Grace from God is not for some but for all, and part of the reason for that is that God loves us all, and we all are in desperate need of His Grace.

But Good Friday is not about Grace – it’s about Consequences. Maundy Thursday represents the choice men make to sin, and Sunday the Grace of God which results in forgiveness and rebirth. But Friday is the Day of Judgment, which applies here as allegory in addition to true history. We live in an age where it is popular to imagine that we may do as we please, to enjoy ourselves and imagine that nothing is damaged as a result of our choice. We fail at goodness and so dispute even the existence of holiness, turning our eyes from examples in front of us every day so we can pretend that doing as we will is the highest moral plane, even as teach children to be better and demand it from government, authority, and our neighbors.

This is nothing new, though. The old empires were built on greed and lust for power just as modern men do the same, and Plato once wrote of a kind of man who lived in a cave, being lied to through shadows and darkness, yet when he escaped the cave and faced the true light, he deemed it false because it was alien to what he knew, and he embraced the shadows, even knowing they were false, because it was too much to embrace the truth when it was a truth too strong and bold for him to accept.

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