Apr 10, 2009

He didn't even say a mumblin' word?

There is an old slave spiritual that goes, "He never said a mumblin' word My LORD, He never said a mumblin' word My LORD" "Not a word, not a word, not a word."

This song would give the impression that Jesus died passively, dying as only as a silenced victim, and therefore, all who follow him, it could be derived from this interpretation of his death, must die as quiet, passive victims, never speaking out on and/or against things that offend God. But it is not quite that simple; Jesus never complained against God his Father. The slaves were saying that like Jesus, they would never blame God for their plight; it was the wickedness of humanity that put Jesus on the cross and the Africans into chattel slavery. Asking God why, and pointing the finger at God for intentional sins that humanity does is unbiblical and very bad theodicy. As Jesus is dying, he quotes Psalm 22:1, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" but the whole context of Psalm 22 is a psalm of trusting in God alone for deliverance. Psalm 22:19 reads, "But you, Oh LORD, Be not far off; o my strength, come quickly to help me." In his very last breathe, even when superficially for those who do not have faith it seems as if the divine has abandoned Jesus the Messiah, Jesus is still proclaiming the Gospel, the Good News that God is still here. That is what Good Friday is all about: God is in our midst.

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