I have a copy of Salvador Dali’s “Christ of St. John of the Cross” in our home office. Linda gave it to me as a wedding gift. The image has Jesus on the cross, suspended over the world as if anticipating the Resurrection. The prelude was Jesus’ farcical trial before Caiaphas the high priest, chief priests, elders and scribes, and Pilate; Jesus used as a whipping post, Jesus lugging the cross part way to Golgatha, the nails, the spearing, the hanging, full-weight for six hours. His death. Violence on legalized steroids. For us.
The motivation for Jesus’ crucifixion was FEAR. The two power groups worked in concert to quench their FEARS. The religious leaders were FEARFUL of Jesus’ competitive moxy, Jesus’ announcement of a New Order of Liberation, as he had begun to drain away their followers with his message of love, forgiveness, reconciliation and freedom. The political leadership was FEARFUL of disruption, of losing control of the population. Rome’s occupation of the Holy Land must not be for naught. Violence was their tool to accomplish their common ends.
A similar dynamic is occurring during this Covid-19 time. As I have written in three previous posts (3 April, 25 March and 22 March), the potential for gun violence is erupting. The culprit? FEAR. The STAR TRIBUNE of 9 April reports Kory Krause of the Frontiersman gun shop in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, saying “We did more than a months worth of sales over just a four day period.” Kory continued, “In the event the outbreak gets worse and civil unrest breaks out, [FEAR] wanting to protect their family and their stockpile is really the vibe we’re getting from people.” Josh Gazelka speaks of the “general level of uncertainty” [FEAR] over the social and economic effects [of Covid]. The FBI recorded a record 3.7 million background checks nationwide. [FEAR] The Giffords Law Center writes that Covid elevates risk for domestic abuse because of isolation from friends, reduced access to shelters, and risk of suicide due to FEAR. The Gifford Law Center advocates: 1) Store guns unloaded; 2) Store guns locked; 3) Store guns separate from ammunition. [FEAR]
Dali’s portrait has Jesus’ head focused downward towards the world. Jesus’ face is unseen. Jesus’ “Seven Last Words” have been uttered. Now the silence as Jesus hovers over a FEAR-FILLED world, the willing victim of FEAR. FEAR has finished the Christ. It’s Good Friday. Violence spawned by FEAR has won the day. FEAR is the supreme god. And the people, the witnesses, Mary and the disciples FEAR. What now? What will happen to we followers? Are we next?
And the guns are pulled-off the shelves and find their new homes in houses of children, spouses and partners. FEAR Protectors.
Good Friday. Jesus silenced by FEAR. We are arming-up in FEAR.
Rev. Dr. Ron Letnes