I have recently set up a Tumblr blog, www.roodscreen.org, which I find much more convenient to post to. While this blog is not going to go anywere, I will be much more active on the Tumblr side.
"Loving Thomas", a Sermon from the Rood Screen 4/27/14
To: My beloved people
From: Jesus Christ, Son of the living God
on Good Friday
I was listening to the stations of the cross you were celebrating at noon in my honor, and I heard an interesting prayer:
“Teach your Church, O Lord, to mourn the sins of which it is guilty, and to repent and forsake them; that, by your pardoning grace, the results of our iniquities may not be visited upon our children and our children’s children; through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
I’m glad you’re praying to me, and I’m glad you’re thinking of the future, but I’m concerned how you might take this prayer. You almost might think from it that the primary concern of my father is punishing you for the things you do wrong. You might even think that he’s into punishing your children and your grandchildren. While there are plenty of bad fathers in the world, please rest assured that my father is not one of those. My father loved you all into existence and called you very good. He knows your limitations. In regards to those things you have done and have left undone, he looks at you with pity and not with blame. He cannot forgive you, because he never blamed you, or hated you, or wished harm to you and never will.
The prayer could also be read in a very good way, in that by asking that your iniquities not be visited upon your descendants, that you are finally admitting that it is your own actions that are causing lasting harm in the world. I was listening to NPR the other day, which I do a lot. A journalist was talking about the time he went to Somalia to cover the great famine there. He said they walked into the hotel to find great mounds of food welcoming them, while people were literally starving on the streets below. In one heartbreaking case he related how a father had watched his son die of starvation in a hospital, then had carried his body out into the street past booths of food which he did not have the money to buy. You continue to ignore climate change, even while the effect on your agricultural output is already apparent. You have dismantled the mental health care system to save money, then seem surprised when people with untreated mental illness carry out violence. You don’t need my father to punish you - as a race, you do a pretty good job punishing yourselves. You live in hells of your own making. You are experts at ignoring the long-term consequences of your decisions, so that your own wrath is visited upon your children and your children’s children. Perhaps it is as Carl Sagan theorized, that technological species are too smart for their own good and end up making themselves extinct. Of course, that’s for me to know and you to find out.
Folks, I didn’t come to earth and become one of you to appease my father’s wrath. I came to save you from your own. I came to instill my divinity into humanity so that humanity might become humane. When my suffering was over on the cross, I did not turn to my father and ask if HE was pleased. I cried, “It is accomplished!” I turned to humanity, and I turn to each one of you and ask, “Is it enough? Are you satisfied? Have I proven to you once and for all that God does not desire your death or that of any of you? Looking upon the soldiers gambling over my belongings, can you continue to disregard the needs of the poor? Looking upon the tortured ruin of my crucified body, can you continue to torture and kill each other? God himself has died there at your hands. Having crucified God, can you continue to crucify each other in your daily lives? Can you continue to dare to hate?
Beloved, God is love, and I am God. Humanity crucified love. But that is not the end of the story. In three days, you’ll see. All shall be well. But for now, it is right for you to gaze upon my body on the cross, and for you to remember that it was not God that put me there, but humanity. And should it be nothing to you as you pass by, it is not God’s wrath that shall be visited upon your children and your children’s children, but the wrath you hold so dear in your hearts. I came to save you. It is accomplished. All that remains is for you to accept the freedom I have purchased - the freedom of living into the image of a loving God you were made in.
a true lover of your soul