Thursday, March 29, 2018
Honouring Sweet Jesus
Stained Glass by Ray Downing
Beneath the cross of Jesus
I fain would take my stand:
the shadow of a mighty rock
within a weary land,
a home within the wilderness,
a rest upon the way,
from the burning of the noontide heat
and the burden of the day.
This is Jesus Weekend in the Christian year. While Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus, we would not recognize that event if not for what we acknowledge during the next few days.
Today, Maundy Thursday, it will be Jesus' Last Supper during which he unnerves the disciples by washing their feet as a sign of humble service before transforming the Passover meal.
Tomorrow, Good Friday, will be the solemn recognition of the execution of Jesus by the Roman Empire and the deep truth of suffering love.
On Easter morning we choose to enter into the drama of the empty tomb, to be startled once again by the Resurrection story with its promise of the defeat of death and eternal life.
Of course, it is Christians who ponder and mourn and celebrate together. Jews will enter into the days of Pesach or Passover tomorrow, a regular coincide in the calendars of these two religions. For so many in what were once considered Christian countries it will be "business as usual."
There is even a growing disrespect for the symbols of Christian faith and the person of Jesus. The latest kerfuffle is over a Canadian ice cream chain with the name of Sweet Jesus. It has been around for a while but now it is expanding into the United States, where there has been a strong reaction to what is perceived as disrespect and blasphemy.
My first response was to shrug and think "let it go." I was more unsettled when I saw the logo with the upside-down cross. What are the these people thinking? This may not be intentional blasphemy, but I doubt that any retailer would appropriate a sacred symbol from another religion to sell a product.
Then again, in the United States Good Friday is not a public holiday as it is in Canada. And it sure seems that many conservative Christians who take umbrage at this logo have no real commitment to living out the gospel in their daily lives in terms of compassion and generosity to the outsider.
In the end all we can do is choose the sacrificial way of the cross and live our Easter hope in our relationships and actions. Despite the accretions of religion, it has always been that way. Jesus wasn't sweet anyway. He was bold and compassionate and courageous, all the way to the cross.