Guest post by Anthony Federico, as we prepare for the Feast of Corpus Christi
It’s a single sentence from a popular television show that I never got into. The one with the four geniuses and the beautiful blonde.
I’m not a TV critic. I have no opinion on whether or not you should watch the show. It’s just that the one line from the one scene of the only episode I watched has haunted me. This one sentence has pursued me in the several weeks since I saw it. It has caused me fury, sorrow, indignation, mourning, humility and exquisite joy.
It is one of untold thousands of lines that modern television writers and actors deliver with ease: sarcastic, affected, genteel. Cue packaged laughter.
I was flicking through the channels. I stopped as the characters enter a Church. It is obvious they would rather be anywhere else. One by one, they take sophomoric shots at Catholic Christianity: the overzealous mother makes each person pray against their will. Witty jokes about “rosary rattlers” and drinking Church wine.
I’m not so pretentious that a sitcom’s jabs at my faith would rile me up. Nobody enjoys when the object of their affection is ridiculed, but I can let it go. My peace is not so easily disturbed.
Then the line.
Two characters are looking up at a Crucifix, with the body of Jesus clearly displayed.
One says: “None of our gods have abs like that.”
The other says with a wearied disdain: “Yup, that’s the last Jew who did sit-ups…look where it got Him.”
And I, in many respects, have not been the same since.
My initial reaction was anger. How could they attempt a joke like that? About Jesus on the Cross? Is nothing sacred? I, in my typical overeagerness, swore off television forever and vowed to avenge this most casual of blasphemies.
Then the strangest thought took hold of me. The Holy Spirit nudged me: listen to the writers and the actor. Heed their order, however tasteless. Do exactly what they say. Look where it got Him.
The ‘He’, of course, is Jesus Christ. The ‘it’ is a brutal, bloody death on ancient torture device. ‘It’ is a slow, barbaric execution that started by being gruesomely nailed to the torture device with spikes through the Hands and the Feet. Death comes three hours later, by asphyxiation. The Crucified Person eventually loses the strength to push down against the nail through the feet and cannot lift Himself up enough to clear the rib cage and draw a breath. The ‘it’ most certainly includes public humiliation, the scattering of a small band of friends and an overwhelming appearance of failure. ‘It’ is absolute suffering, an utter desolation of spirit, a grizzly agony. A most pitiful death.
So, our television show asks us to look where all that got Him. Let us, at once, obey the command.
Let’s look at the Innocent One splayed out on splintered wood. Yes, let’s look unblinking as if our eyes were created for nothing else.
Let’s look at God’s unfathomable and unquantifiable love for us most boldly proclaimed and most loudly shouted.
Let’s look at the justice of God. Let’s look and see and know that ‘it’ is the only currency in the economy of salvation.
Let’s look at punishment taken for us. Let’s look at our Ransom replacing us on the gallows.
Let’s look at the extreme measures and lengths our God goes to rescue us from death.
Let’s look tenderly at the humility of our God who deserves the splendor of infinite majesty but obediently accepts a tattered garment, bloody gashes and a crown of thorns.
Look at the Victim Whose death reconciles the world to Himself.
Look at all of our evils and our hatreds and our arrogance being absorbed and atoned, permanently and completely. Without qualification, stipulation or distinction.
Look at our authority over death, disease, poverty and misery. Let’s look on our life, our abundance, our perfect joy being won for us.
Let’s see God working through the cynicism of an unconcerned television show to deliver a message most profound and most urgently needed today.
Yes, let us look at Him.
[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://www.ignitumtoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Anthonyimage.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Anthony Federico is the author of “Must Be Nice“, a remembrance of college glory. Find him on Twitter @AntFeds.[/author_info] [/author]
Image credit: Christ on the Cross, Velasquez, Wikimedia