FOX’s The Passion vs. Reality

Millennial co-founder Christopher Hale has a new article at Time. He writes:

On Sunday night, FOX aired The Passion, a two-hour live primetime special shot through the streets of New Orleans that relived the final hours of Jesus’s life. The sometimes inspiring and other times strange rendition of Jesus’s death was a strong public display of faith as Christians enter into Holy Week, the faith’s climatic final days before the upcoming Easter festivities.

At its best, the show was an uplifting and memorable account of how Jesus’s suffering, death and resurrection was not just an historical event limited to first-century Palestine, but also a cosmic event with implications for people of every generation. At its worst, it was a strange and superficial pep rally that glossed over the brutal final hours that marked Jesus’s execution.

You can read the full article here.


Service Rooted in Encounter

After washing the feet of his apostles in today’s Gospel reading, Jesus asks, “Do you know what I have done for you?”

He isn’t bragging. He isn’t seeking praise. His question is authentic, and it is worthy of reflection for all of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus:

Do you know what I have done for you?

Again and again through the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, God shows us how boundless his love is for us. In Jesus, he pitches a tent among us and shares in our human lot.

But Jesus did not come simply to accompany us, but also to serve us. Jesus, who is God himself, gets on his knees and washes the feet of his followers. This is the “act of a slave, of a servant,” but this is also a God who will not withhold anything in showing us His love.

Do we get it? Do we comprehend how amazing this is? Does it change the way we live? Does it change the way we interact with our families, our friends, and even our enemies?

Let’s not domesticate him: Jesus Christ is a radical, willing to overthrow our complacencies, our assumptions, and our very way of living.

He stirs us up, and asks us to change: “You ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”

How do we do that? We allow God to be present in our midst. We give him permission to encounter us. We say ‘yes’ to his invitation. We allow him to wash our feet.

Our service of others must spring out of an encounter of the one whose love for us is so radical that he is willing to give all, including his very life, just to be with us.

The Crosses We Bear

In today’s Gospel, John tells the story of Jesus at the Last Supper, when he reveals to the disciples that Judas will betray him.

The Scripture says that Jesus was “deeply troubled” by this situation. Jesus, who has pitched his tent among us and shared our lot, experiences the most difficult human emotion there is: fear. Though he himself tells us “be not afraid” 365 times in the Gospel, he too experiences this great paralyzer of the human race.

The cross that Jesus will face is worthy of fear. But as Jesus will find out, God never abandons him. His Spirit raises Jesus up from the cross and makes him the conquerer of sin and death itself.

We too have crosses to bear. Our friends and neighbors do as well. This week is a time to acknowledge that the crosses are real, and so too is our responsibility to bear them.

But we do not bear them alone! Nor should we allow friends and neighbors to do so as well. While a cross without Christ is impossible to bear, a Cross with Christ is the source of our salvation.

Let’s take this time to authentically encounter our crosses and the crosses of our friends and neighbors with peace and dare I say joy, knowing that Jesus of Nazareth walks the way with us and offers us his friendship and redeeming love through it all.