A few disjointed quotes and thoughts, mainly from other people, about Good Friday and Easter, and empathising with Our Lord.
My song is love unknown
My Saviour’s love to me
Love to the loveless shown
That they might lovely be.
O who am I, that for my sake,
My Lord should take frail flesh and die?
…They rise and needs must have
My dear Lord made away,
A murderer they save,
The Prince of Life they slay.
Yet cheerful he
To suffering goes,
That He His foes
From thence might free.
(Samuel Crossman, 17th cent. I would prefer “we rise” rather than “they…” but nevertheless.)
Dorothy L Sayers’ set of radio plays, “The Man Born to be King” (1941-2, controversial in its day for allowing an actor to voice non-Biblical dialogue attributed to Jesus) although dated, is still very powerful. Although most of the script is naturalistic, I love the risen Christ’s formal dialogue with His disciples about the significance of His death:
Peter: Master – when I disowned you – when we disbelieved and doubted you – when we failed and deserted and betrayed you – is that what we do to God?
Jesus: Yes, Peter.
James: Lord, when they mocked and insulted and spat upon you – when they flogged you – when they howled for your blood – when they nailed you to the cross and killed you – is that what we do to God?
Jesus: Yes, James.
John: Beloved, when you patiently suffered all things, and went down to death with all our sins heaped upon you – is that what God does for us?
Jesus: Yes, John. For you, and with you, and in you, when you are freely mine.
The death of Aslan in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, especially the Witch’s taunting that his death will not save Edmund so he is dying for nothing, the Deep Magic from the Dawn of Time (ie the Law) and the Deeper Magic from Before the Dawn of Time (ie self-sacrificial love).
Those of a certain generation will also remember the musical/film “Jesus Christ Superstar”. The cruelty of the crucifixion is powerful, and the bad guys (the priests, Herod, Pilate) get fantastic songs, but the portrayal of Jesus is totally inadequate (to me). It takes enormous perversity to make the institution of Holy Communion an act of personal pique and self-pity, as the lyrics do (“For all you care, this bread could be my body”). The reviewer Clive James said of a different programme about Christ something like “no one connected with this production seems to have decided what a Messiah is. Is it a bird? Is it a plane?”
It is sometimes hard to grasp Jesus as an actual person feeling emotions, making decisions, relating to changing circumstances. His prayer in Gethsemane is one of the most striking places where we see the humanity. People have rarely dared to portray Him from the inside.
The Cretan author Nikos Kazantzakis attempted an “inside” portrayal of Christ in “The Last Temptation of Christ”, which was filmed by Martin Scorsese. Both book and film were enormously controversial. I have not seen/read them, but this is part of what Wikipedia says about the book:
The central thesis of the book is that Jesus, while free from sin, was still subject to fear, doubt, depression, reluctance, and lust. Kazantzakis argues in the novel’s preface that by facing and conquering all of man’s weaknesses, Jesus struggled to do God’s will without ever giving into the temptations of the flesh. The novel advances the argument that, had Jesus succumbed to any such temptation, especially the opportunity to save himself from the cross, his life would have held no more significance than that of any other philosopher.
This makes me think I ought to read it… Has anyone else?
I have also not seen Mel Gibson’s film “The Passion of the Christ” – any recommendations?
Psalm 22, Isaiah 53.
(The resurrected Jesus is particularly hard to fathom. In John 21, we are told that the disciples pulled their boat onto a beach to find Jesus already cooking fish on a fire, with bread alongside. Where did He get the fish and bread? Did He create them out of thin air, just at the right moment? Or can we imagine a resurrected Jesus doing things, useful or fun things, on His own – fishing or strolling through a market, perhaps looking forward to seeing His friends again?)
Happy Easter in two days’ time from the PPI Blogger
PS I am getting ready to perform in two items in tomorrow’s “Chilwell’s Got Talent”. A bit nervous…