Some part of me issues a “knee-jerk” reaction to the way our culture treats Christian holydays. We did this at Christmas, and we’re doing it again. For whatever reason, mainstream media have largely decided that Christian holy days are occasions for airing the most specious programs. Whether its more of the DaVinci nonsense or a focus on the “Christian Right,” almost everything but a quiet and reverent moment of reflection or something similar (I imagine).
As I say, some part of me reacts – but I suppose that is my own sin. It would be possible (given my schedule) to see no media at all this week (perhaps even salutary). But even a newspaper at lunch brought with it an interview with Marcus Borg (the New Testament scholar) that was, to be kind, less than orthodox.
But the world that I live in has afforded Christians many opportunities to bear witness. We have not been persecuted (not in any significant sense). We have been able both to practice our faith and certainly, “to let our light shine so that others may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” But it is clearly the case that Christians have not done the latter – at least not to an extent that has made a profound impression. If the world of American mass culture has little respect for Christ, it is not the masters of culture we have to blame, but rather to say, “Father, forgive us all.”
The masters of culture do not profess to be believers (or not many of them do). But I profess to be a believer and yet I stand in need of forgiveness. In last night’s service a question was put to Judas in one of the hymns:
What caused you to betray the Savior, O Judas?
Did He expel you from the ranks of the Apostles?
Did He take from you the gift of healing?
Did He send you from the table while taking supper with the others?
Did He wash their feet and pass you by?
How have you forgotten such good things?
Your ingratitude is notorious,
But His boundless long-suffering and great mercy are proclaimed to all.
The poignancy of the questions could be (and are meant to be) universal. What has God done to us such that we betray Him (as we do). I cannot expect otherwise from someone who does not know Him, who does not profess to believe. It’s my own outrageous conduct and unbelief that is far more at fault. I can be grateful this year that the masters of our culture did not decide to do an upclose focus on my life as an Easter story. The scandal would be greater, and my excuses of no avail. Father, forgive us all, particularly those of us who profess to know Thee.