A LENTEN MEDITATION
The notion of royalty these days no longer just means monarchy. They also refer to celebrities of our day who get the "royal" treatment. We have celebrities in the secular world. We also have celebrities in the religious world. In whatever stripe they come, the usual signs of power and influence in the world unmistakably accompany them - pomp, pageantry, wealth, fame, luxury, and the adulation of many.
But nowhere else do the ways of the world and ways of Jesus diverge than on the issue of power.
Lent has essentially disciplined us to follow the gospel story of Jesus' ministry and teachings that all lead to his entry into Jerusalem - his confrontation with the religious powers who were in cahoots with imperial Rome, the Last Supper, the lonely agony in the garden of Gethsemane, the betrayal by Judas, the denial of Peter, the humiliation before Herod and Pilate, and the shouts of the crowds for his death, "crucify him!"
"I am among you as one who serves", Jesus said to his disciples during the last Passover meal they were to share together on earth. These words remain to be antithetical to the world's understanding of power, and continue to be the most challenging gospel imperative that even the church finds difficult to appropriate. Jesus' final entry into Jerusalem before his crucifixion and death was to proclaim the scandalous love of God, a scandalous kind of power - one made perfect in weakness.
What are the implications of this scandalous love for us today? God's love in Christ is not passive love. It is active, irrepressible love because it always seeks the other. Its cause is to bring back the alienated and the estranged. This is why that the public face of love is always justice, because its very nature rights every wrong. And herein lies the power of love - in its radical other-centredness.
What are the implications of this scandalous love to the church today? What did Jesus confront and resist?