3 surprising things about Good Friday

1 – Today is Good Friday. To Christians, it’s the most holy day of the religious calendar. But ‘holy’ not in the Golden Lounge sense where there are first-class dudes and everyone else sits in crammed seats. ‘Holy’ not in the Spock sense where only ‘we’ are super-smart and know all the answers. Neither is it the Parliamentary Speaker sense in which ‘we’ have the right to tell everyone how wrong they are and the world has the right to shut up, obey or remain sinful – now wouldn’t that be convenient?

Instead, to be holy means to be set apart to serve; it’s about being called to be a blessing to others as a vocation. Christians are meant to major in compassion and minor in condemnation. Good Friday is about enduring agonising pain for crazy people who will never be good enough.

Give RM50 for orphans? Sure. Give the flesh off my back so the most corrupted UMNO crony can experience a new kind of life? Insane. But that’s what Good Friday is, well, ‘about’. One perfect person suffering out of love for other highly imperfect persons who couldn’t give a damn. One loving person giving himself up so there can be a surprising outcome for a world which has given up on surprises.

2 – Today is Good Friday. It’s the reason why no parent names their son ‘Judas’. But it wasn’t simply a matter of betrayal, no matter what Lady Gaga says. Judas’ problem, much like ours, was about being obsessed with an idea.

Judas was crazy about the kind of victory he believed the Messiah was supposed to bring; he fully believed that God would ‘rescue His people’ but he refused to accept that the divine plan involved humiliatation, suffering and death. No, Judas believed that only a VIOLENT overthrow of the Roman and the ‘false’ Jewish leaders would restore the Jews to their rightful place assigned by God.

And how best to incite such violence, if not by ‘provoking’ an arrest of someone so loved by the rakyat? What better way to spur the trigger-happy revolutionaries to action than by getting the people’s Messiah – welcomed with waving palm branches and cries of joy – handcuffed and roughed up by guards from a despised establishment?

The sad surprise is that Judas, our famous ‘traitor’, never intended to betray anybody. In fact, his agenda was to rejoin the ‘good guys’ once the revolution was won. This is why he kissed the one he betrayed – wouldn’t it have been easier to simply point? This is also why, after Judas realised his plan has gone terribly wrong (and that the Messiah had a VERY different understanding of how God saves the world), he threw away his blood-money in disgust and sorrow.

3 – Today is Good Friday. If you ask me what’s so ‘good’ about it, I’ll say it’s the day that this Jewish guy threw himself on the primed grenades that threatened to blow up the world. It was the day that someone who said (and acted like) he was God in some strange but exact sense, walked onto the Omaha Beach of life, letting himelf be gunned down (again and again and again) so we wouldn’t have to.

You know the funny thing? It was actually the religious and political leaders who took this person down. Not sure why they hated him so much. Maybe it was jealousy, fear or just because they didn’t like his face. Or maybe those in power go berserk when another kind of power emerges in the lives of the people they wish to control? Which is why they must disparage and destroy it.

I’ll repeat it: Good Friday is the day a very good and godly man was tortured and killed by selfish political bullies who, by doing so, played perfectly into the hands of a Higher Loving Power. As Narnia author, C.S. Lewis, said: There is a ‘deeper magic’ at work which the most evil forces in existence cannot deal with if they even knew about it.

I don’t know where MH370 is, but I do know that a deeper magic is available to help the families of the passengers heal and move on with life. I don’t know why Karpal Singh’s car crashed, but I suspect that the author of this deeper magic grieves with his family. I also think that those who would carry on the former DAP Chairman’s vision for justice in the country will do so and, if they search their hearts, find that deeper magic somehow ‘holding’ them closely.

Thank God it’s Good Friday. God loves us more than we know – surprise?

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