Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Blood of Jesus

 (Image Credit: AP. Blood in the streets of Gaza City after an Israeli air strike killed seven, July 12)

The blood of Jesus runs red in the streets of Gaza and the church barely takes notice.  In his book The Cross and The Lynching Tree, James Cone defines salvation as "a liberating event in the lives of all who are struggling for survival and dignity in a world bent on denying their humanity" (p. 151).  For Christians we see this salvation illustrated most clearly in the person of Jesus and paradoxically in the scandal of the cross.  It is on the cross that the Son of God becomes the Oppressed One, aligning himself not with the rich or the powerful, but the poor, the oppressed, the trampled upon.  Tragically, the Jim Crow South never recognized the crucified body of Jesus in the lynched bodies of about 5,000 black men, women and children who were brutally beaten, burned, mutilated and hung from trees.  And today we often fail to recognize the blood of Jesus in the shed blood of all who suffer unjustly.

The blood of Jesus runs red in Gaza where the targeting of civilian homes have left over 200 Palestinians dead, over 40 of them children.  The latest victims were four children whose only crime was playing on the beach when an Israeli airstrike violently ended their lives.

The blood of Jesus runs red in Chicago where the combined forces of capitalism and racism have trapped many blacks in ghettos buried in poverty, violence and despair, while being ignored by the rest of society.  Over 80 shootings took place over the course of Independence Day weekend alone.  Let us not be deceived, ghettos are no Chicago phenomenon.  They can be found all throughout the US.  They are created by the rich and the powerful to keep the poor from access to resources and power.

The blood of Jesus runs red in Syria where the death toll continues to rise higher and higher though mainstream media no longer report the atrocities taking place there.  We are over that I guess and on to other things.

Wherever innocent blood is shed the blood of Jesus flows, yet many of us who are his followers fail to recognize this fact.  Many of us care more about the sufferings of fictional characters in shows like Orange Is The New Black than the very real suffering of victims in Gaza or the ghetto.  The cross of Jesus ought to fuel us with a desire to put an end to any more crosses.  The shed blood of Jesus ought to fuel us with an indomitable desire to stop the shedding of any more innocent blood.  The horror of the cross ought to move us to place our very lives on the line in order to create a world where violence, oppression and unnecessary suffering are nothing but distant, distant memories.

Over 2,000 years have passed and yet the blood of Jesus, the blood of the persecuted, the blood of the trampled upon still flows.  When will we take notice?

Following The Way,

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