Whilst I was in hospital recently the hospital chaplain, the Revd Kathryn Darby and I celebrated together the Lord’s Supper in one corner of the ward. We did not draw the curtains around my bed, so that anyone could see what was happening. One thing struck me forcibly as we celebrated. The rest of the ward, nurses and patients simply carried on with their daily concerns, bustling about, distributing cups of tea, meals, medication and so on. There was the background noise of the television and radio news. Nobody seemed to take a blind bit of notice of what we were doing and I thought how that reflected what happened on Good Friday, when Jesus was crucified. The World carried on with its business as if nothing else mattered.
The merchants and the money changers, the scribes and the soldiers just ignored the dying man whose life was ebbing away right next to them. They put up a board saying in three languages that he was the King of the Jews. They played dice as they gambled for his clothes. They were passing the time until he died. Then they would leave him hanging there while they went away to other more honourable military tasks than guarding a corpse. Business as usual.
Is that not how it is with us? The supermarkets are open and selling their goods as usual. The World carries on with its own concerns, the noise and bustle as usual – and the King of the Jews on his cross, his blood being shed even for those who ignore him. Even many Christians who will rejoice on the third day after his death and shout: ‘The Lord is risen’ forget that before being raised he first had to die. We cannot have a Risen Lord without first knowing him as the Crucified. Can we not pause in our busy lives and look death in the face before we speak of the resurrection?
Revd Dr John Taylor
Written by John on 26th April 2020, the day before he died.