Imagine Jesus looking on at the religious establishment's shunning of the unclean, the Gentiles, the lepers, the prostitutes, the tax collectors...
Or imagine Jesus taking note of humanity's pain, paralysis, blindness, and hunger...
Or imagine Jesus confronted by an oppressive, blood-thirsty, self-aggrandizing, self-glorifying occupying government...
and instead of turning over tables,
instead of "preaching it" on a mount,
instead of saying it to the religious authorities' faces,
instead of making sight-giving mud from his spit,
instead of blessing and breaking,
instead of laying on his hands,
instead of dining with betraying friends,
instead of subverting Caesar's imperial rule,
instead of going the way of the Cross...
Instead of all this, Jesus decides to tweet.
Social media clicktivism or armchair activism got mocked by SNL this past Saturday, and this week the church will take up the conch to witness to another more faithful Way proffered by God this Holy Week.
This past Palm Sunday, the church recounted Jesus' the Christ, dubiously triumphant entry into Jerusalem. And beginning tomorrow, the church will recall how Christ got on his knees - in the flesh - to wash his disciples feet...
How he pulled up a rug at the Table to bless break give thanks and feed his soon-to-be betrayer and abandoning friends...
How he sang psalms on his way to the garden...
How hel prayed there and shed tears in anguish...
How he resisted the option of violence, embracing the more vulnerable option of non-violence...
How he stoond - fully present - as a silent witness before the religious establishment.
How he allowed himself to be dragged in front of the governor where again..
How he provided no defense...
How he was flogged...
How he bled...
How he was mocked, was led up a hill, was crucified, died...and rose again.
No armchair activism for Jesus. Incarnate Love must be just that: Incarnate. It's Christ's way - The Way of the Cross - that has formed and informed the Christian witnesses (also known as martyrs (which is the greek word for witness)) ever since:
Polycarp of Smyrna
Justin the Martyr
Perpetua and Felicity
Joan of Arc
The Egyptian Coptic Christians observing Palm Sunday just yesterday
All were killed for their witness to Christ's way of suffering love which SHOWED UP.
The church in every age is being called to show up and give witness to Immanuel - this With-Us-God. We're being called to show up in ways that compromise our comfort and safety. We're being called to show up to show Christ's love. This isn't bad, sad, or ominous news. It's Gospel. It's wholly and holy Good!
Cuz when you show up where it's hard to be, you'll be blessed; Blessed with Christ's presence, blessed with surpassing joy, blessed with the gracious power of God who abides with us.
May this Holy Week: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Vigil bless you to be a blessing.