Home Sermon Good Friday: Here We Are

(This is a continuing sermon in the voice of Mary Magdalene. The first part, from Palm Sunday and the second part from Maundy Thursday lead up to today’s sermon.)

John 18:1-19:42

So, you came. After last night, I wasn’t sure.

After last night…  You blame Peter, Andrew, Simon and the rest, for not being here. And it is true, they failed him, but we all failed. When they came for him? We all ran. We forgot everything he’d ever said, and ran as far and as fast as we could. Some of us came back, I mean where else did we have to go? But none of us marched up to the guards and claimed him, none of us demanded they take us too. I watched the crowd, in the square. And I think I understand us, and him a little better.

We are all so angry, so afraid. The wealthy merchants, and the officials the Romans appointed to the Temple. They stank of it, jostling with the crowd, egging them on. He terrified them, they were really afraid he could have ended their world, turned it all upside down; that he could have gotten us to end their world. Little people, like you and me. But if they’d looked around, if they’d really seen… We little people were terrified, afraid of what would happen if Rome cracked down, so afraid, and so angry that things weren’t going to change after all. That he’d failed us. Maybe that’s the thing that makes us most afraid, most angry, when our hope gets taken away.

In the end we all failed him, rich and poor, powerful and powerless. Do you know what the definition of insanity is? A Greek told me once, he said it was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I suppose that means we’re all insane. Every last one of us.

The Romans say that war, might, brings peace, but we women left behind know the only peace it brings is the sort you find in your grave. But that doesn’t stop every king that’s ever been from marching off that story again. We say to keep us safe we’ve got to punish the ones who would disrupt society and we nail them to crosses, or cut off their heads, or let them waste away in deep dark holes, but we don’t seem to get any safer for it.

The rich keep on getting richer and squeezing the rest of us to death. The powerful just keep squeezing us, herding us into smaller and smaller pens with their laws. But well, you see what they do to someone who says that maybe we could all have just what we need, that perhaps we are all worthy? The rich and powerful don’t want to give up what they’ve got, and we little people? I can see now: we really think we’ll be them someday, so here we are, totally insane, supporting the system that keeps us barely hanging on. Killing someone like him, who told us things could be different.

I don’t know if we can change, he believed we could. He really did. But here we are, and I… I’m out of tears, I’m out of fear, I’m out of everything. All I can do is watch, all I can do is stay close to him and… hope. Perhaps I’m crazy, but it’s a different sort of crazy from the rest of this world and that’s all I have left. He gave me hope: for myself, for us all. Go back to the city, it’s cold, and you look tired. I’ll wait here. His mother won’t go. You know her, she’ll stay here until she collapses, she’ll stay here until it’s over. She still believes, I suppose angels will do that to you. She’ll hope for all of us, maybe it’s crazy but I will watch with her. Crazy or not it is all we have.

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