Jesus saw something in humanity that I sure don’t. But still, you’ve just got to do the best you can.
I never really understood what they meant by “God’s sacrifice” at Easter time.
It was the line I used to get at Sunday School. “God loved us so much he was willing to sacrifice his only son for us.”
For me, I was like, yeah, but after Jesus died, he ascended in body and spirit back to heaven. He’s up there right now, having a bit of kick to kick with the old man.
So I didn’t really get the sacrifice. He didn’t give up his son. He just sent him to earth and made him suffer for a few days, before spending the rest of eternity together in heaven.
(This, and spitballs, is why I spent a lot of time sitting outside writing lines as a kid.)
But I’m willing to concede that my understanding of ‘sacrifice’ is very limited to a human perspective.
Jesus’s sacrifice though I got. He could have had anything he wanted. He could have been a king. He could have lived a life of fame and extreme comfort, travelling the land, performing miracles for the pretty ladies.
But he didn’t. Rather, he chose to walk with both eyes open into the intense suffering that was in store for him. He let himself be nailed to a cross, just to save a bunch of ignorant and ungrateful humans.
I often used to wonder about this. If Jesus’s own disciples didn’t really get what he was about (Judas, I’m looking at you) what hope did I have, with a culture, a language, and two-thousand years between us?
(And nothing but Ms Northcote’s puppets to help explain the mystery.)
I sometimes wonder if what Jesus really gave us was a seed – a seed that would sprout into transcendent wisdom, kindness and faith, if given enough time and care. Perhaps all it needed was three or four thousand years and then we would really understand what he was trying to lay down.
But at year zero, we were probably only marginally less ignorant than we are now, and perhaps only a smidgen less greedy and selfish.
And even though Jesus came head to head with the full weight of human stupidity and greed – even though he would have seen straight into the dark, ugly soul of humanity, he still chose to make the sacrifice he did.
What a champ.
I wonder how we looked through Jesus’s eyes. I imagine he could have easily just looked around and gone ‘yeah, nah. This lot are a lost cause. Better call in another biblical flush.’
But he didn’t. Seems there was something worth saving. Seems there was (and is) something that makes all this suffering and craziness worthwhile.
I wonder what that is.
God only knows.
My faith gets tested on a weekly basis. At some point somebody thought gassing a bunch of people in Syria would be a good idea – that it would serve a particular end. I’ve got no idea who to point fingers at, but it doesn’t really matter. It reflects badly on all of us.
We’re all made of the same selfish, ego-driven chemical programming. Born into another context, the hard-ware system that is Jon Giaan could have easily been a brutal tyrant, ready to leave the head’s of his enemies’ children impaled on stakes to make a point.
But thankfully, I had Ms Northcote’s puppets to teach me right from wrong.
… and to judge not lest you be judged.
Humans are always dancing along that shadow line. In the right setting – in a stable and prosperous, law-loving nation-state, we’re capable of great things – art, culture and just generally getting along with each other in a nice and neighbourly way.
But when things go wrong – when we’re plagued by wars, or the fake-news of wars – when we’re scared and hungry and desperate… and when generations have been subjected to these circumstances – when the last person to remember peace dies – then we are capable of incredible cruelty. Meticulous, calculating, sickening cruelty.
It is just who we are. Be thankful that you get to run the having-fun-and-contributing-to-society software sub-routine. And may you never have to install the tearing-out-your-enemies’-eyes sub-routine.
But despite how ugly it gets, theirs is still something beautiful going on here. There is still something worth saving.
And this is what Jesus saw. He laid down his life in the name of a vision of humanity that few have ever shared – if even anyone at all.
I know I don’t get it. My vision for heaven-on-earth mostly involves soccer and sea-food, and I doubt that’s what the Christ was about…
But still, I follow Jesus here. I’m with those who believe that there is something beautiful in the heart of humanity. There is something that makes this strange species worth saving…
… no matter how much evidence stacks up to the contrary.
So let me do my bit to be constantly bringing it out. Let me tend as best I can to the seed that Jesus planted. Let my work be puppet shows to the child-like soul of humanity.
It’s the least that I can do.
Happy Easter everyone.
Do you see anything here worth saving?