Posts Tagged ‘suffering love’

Suffering Love

Friday of Holy Week Reflection

Photo taken by h.guenda.

John 18 – 19:42. (Click here for the full text.)

My kingdom is not from this world.
If my kingdom were from this world,
my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over ….
For this I was born, and for this I came into the world,
to testify to the truth.
Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

We tend to fancy the dramatic, the pageantry, the show. That’s probably why we love Palm Sunday. Waving palm branches in the air while shouting, “Hosanna!” and “Hallelujah!” Imagining the Messiah riding into town, how do you feel?  Invincible? Like, “we’re the winners”?  Or “we made it”?

We celebrate that Jesus is our Savior. He has come to save us from the evil one who brings chaos to the world. We praise him as the only One able to set everything at peace, even loud stormy weather. Here is the One who can defeat the evil one. Of course it will be a struggle. Haven’t you seen those apocalyptic movies? Read those apocalyptic books? It will be a battle like none other, between the forces of darkness and light. A violent conflict is coming in which the appointed of God will overthrow evil and usher in a new age for the world. 

Ah, but the gospel reading today forces us to step back and away from this kind of drama. Can you believe that the only “military” order recorded in the Bible that Jesus ever gave was to Peter. Jesus said to him in John 18:11, “Put your sword back in its sheath.”  And look at what Jesus tells Pilate in today’s reading. “If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over…” 

If we truly believe what Jesus said that day to Pilate as he faced death by crucifixion, then all that blood and wrath, all that cataclysmic storytelling, all that final battle stuff, well it might resonant with many, but Jesus desires a better truth for us. Jesus brings about the reign of God by a suffering love that has no whip. Therefore, “Let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)

Consider this ….

  • What do you imagine the reign of God to look like?
  • What will it require to establish it?

Prayer. Dear Lord, keep our faith alive. Preserve our hope in you. Don’t let us get caught up in dramatic tales, but may our hearts and lives be faithful to your loving grace always. Amen.

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