Friday, 6 April 2012

Good Friday

Today is Good Friday, a date fixed by the movement of the moon around the Earth to mark the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth.

We watched a passion play over the internet from the church my wife attends when in her country.

As it built to the emotion of the crucifixion and the willing sacrifice of Jesus as a scapegoat for our sins, I am incredulous once again at the message of this religion.

I am told this was a loving act of God, sending Jesus to die in our place.

But I wonder at the concept that this loving God wanted me on that cross, wanted me to suffer and die, for the sin of being born into His creation.

I  am amazed that this underlying message of unjustified wrath is simply ignored when we are told Easter is about our salvation.

When I think back to reading the Bible as a child, the requirement to sacrifice animals to atone for our acts struck me as barbaric and ignorant, a groping in the dark.

Yet, if Jesus had not yet come, this would surely still be demanded of us by Church ministers, telling me I am born into sin and so the lamb, the goat, the fatted calf, has to die as a sacrifice to appease God.

God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, we are told. If we weren't sitting in Church looking at the cross, we would be sitting in Church as the priests slaughtered the animals we had brought. That is the difference: Christ being the sacrifice to end all sacrifices.

Even though I was once sincerely a Christian, I could never accept the idea that God wants me to suffer and die as Christ suffered and died, as sacrificial animals before Him suffered and died.

The God that became a real presence to me many years ago is nurturing, showing me I am part of Creation, not a visitor to it to be punished for existing.

That day, I spontaneously cupped my hands to fill them from the mountain stream by which I sat and said again and again, "I drink your water", and was thankful.

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