A day of shame!

So they took Jesus; 17and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. 18There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them.

John 19: 16b-18

Greetings my friends,

Today we observe the day that Christ was publicly shamed, ridiculed, tortured and put to death on a cross outside the holy city of Jerusalem.

We remember that in the culture in which Jesus lived, that there could be no greater shroud cast over a person than to be publicly shamed. In this world honor was a precious virtue, was considered a type of commodity. To be shamed brought disgrace not only upon the person who was being shamed, but also upon all who were part of that person’s family. Truly in the public shaming of Christ, those who attempted to bring shame to our Lord were also trying to bring shame to all who would follow Him. Including you and me.

The occupying Romans knew this truth about shame. They knew this truth and they viciously exploited this truth by conducting public crucifixions in order to shame the offender and any who might follow the offender.

Jesus, like us, knows what it means to be publicly shamed. Jesus knows what it feels like to be scorned by neighbors, ridiculed, mocked, and beaten.

As part of this evening’s Good Friday worship we will hear the “Solemn Reproaches” of our Lord. This is one of those reproaches:

“O my people, O my church, what more could I have done for you? Answer me. I gave you a royal scepter, but you gave me a crown of thorns; I gave you the kingdom and crowned you with eternal life, but you have prepared a cross for your Savior.”

Today, my thoughts and my prayers wonder, what else must be done for us all to stop willfully participating in public shaming?

As I carefully venture out of my house for our weekly grocery run or a walk in the park with Marley, I observe a great deal of public shaming, though it takes on different forms during the pandemic of 2020.