Friday, March 07, 2008

The Wound of Our Indifference

The other day a student of mine asked "What do you think would happen if Jesus came back today? Would people still follow him?" We had a little discussion about it, and this poem popped into my head. I first stumbled onto it through a tape I had of Bishop Fulton Sheen; he read it in the middle of a talk he was giving.

by G. A. Studdert-Kennedy

When Jesus came to Golgotha,
They hanged Him on a tree,
They drove great nails through hands and feet,
And made a Calvary.
They crowned Him with a crown of thorns,
Red were His wounds and deep,
For those were crude and cruel days,
And human flesh was cheap.

When Jesus came to Birmingham
They simply passed Him by,
They never hurt a hair of Him,
They only let Him die;
For men have grown more tender,
And they would not give Him pain,
They only just passed down the street,
And left Him in the rain.

Still Jesus cried, 'Forgive them,
For they know not what they do!
And still it rained the winter rain
That drenched Him through and through;
The crowd went home and left the streets
Without a soul to see,
And Jesus crouched against a wall
And cried for Calvary.

What a profoundly sad reality it is that today we have become so indifferent. So blaise. So removed from "encounters" that could bring us life. "No thanks... I'm fine. I don't know... nuthin'.... I don't care... either way.... whatever."

There's a passage in Revelation (I think) where God mourns this luke-warmness... "Would that you were hot or cold...." We're like Cream of Wheat these days that has sat on a shelf just a few minutes too long. In the immortal words of John Cougar Mellencamp, it's "beige to beige.... that's all there is these days." The culture's practice of "safe s_x" (and how sad is it that I have to bleep that so it can bypass certain filters) has turned into a contraceptive life in general! Contracepted relationships and endeavors, across the boards we hold back and do not commit with all of the heart and blood and passion that makes us human. So Jesus longs for Calvary, where there was passion and blood and heart.... His Sacred Heart.

If we saw Him would we pass Him by? He is right beside you now, and down the street and in the house and on the train.
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