In 1992 Walter Wangerin, Jr. wrote a devotional called “Reliving the Passion: Meditations on the Suffering, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus as Recorded in Mark.” A profound theologian, Wangerin is no less a gifted story teller. As we approach our week of passion, I offer some snapshots…
The Second Day: In mirrors I see myself. But in mirrors made of glass and silver I never see the whole of myself. I see the me I want to see, and I ignore the rest. Mirrors that hide nothing hurt me. They reveal an ugliness I’d rather deny…Only when I have the courage to fully look, clearly to know myself – even the evil of myself – will I admit my need for healing.
The Fourth Day: You see? The disciples approached the Resurrection from their bereavement. For them the death was first and the death was all. Easter, then, was an explosion of Newness, a marvelous splitting of heaven indeed. But for us, who return backward into the past, the Resurrection comes first, and through it we view a death which is, therefore, less consuming, less horrible, even less real We miss the disciples’ terrible, wonderful preparation.
The Nineteenth Day: The real trial in Caiaphas’s house is not the guilt of Jesus. Rather, Jesus is judging the guilt of the others, not by speaking, but by being perfectly innocent. Innocence accuses its accusers. They hate it. They scream to drown the sweeter truth; they condemn him to death in order to put out the light. They want dearly to put out the light.
The Twenty-Third Day: If they choose Barabbas, they choose the popular revolutionary hero, the swashbuckler, the pirate, merry Robin Hood, the blood-lusty rake, the law-flout, violence glorified, appetites satisfied, Jame Bond, Billy Jack, Clint Eastwood, Rambo, the celebrated predator, the one who “turns them on,” over one who asks them to “deny themselves and die.” They choose (voluntarily!) entertainment over worship, self-satisfaction over sacrificial love, getting things over giving things, being served over serving, “feeling good about myself” and having it all and gaining the whole world and rubbing elbows with the rich rather than rubbing the wounds of the poor –