I asked Pilate to crucify Jesus. Not nicely and politely, but I shouted at him in a public place, jeering in front of confused crowd, frustrated at waiting for the answer I wanted. The answer Pilate was so unwilling to give, and washed his hands of. I cheered as Jesus cried out in agony as he was scourged by solders, heckled as he fell and had his cross carried for him, and celebrated as he was raised up high on the cross.
As my husband outlines here, I was one of the ‘religious leaders’ who this week called for Jesus to be crucified.
When I volunteered for the part in “Lift High the Cross” I envisaged a fairly simple acting task. However, although I knew I could remain my usual fairly detached self when it came to the day I really didn’t want to do it. I really didn’t want to crucify my Lord – even as an outreach event aimed at sharing the Gospel story.
It just felt wrong.
I, who sit alongside people in their grief, stand at a graveside commiting people’s loved ones into God’s care, or share in the excitement of a miracle birth, or the plans for a wedding in the presence of God, had to ask for Jesus, who is the person of the love I profess to share with them, to be crucified.
Like my son I felt much more detached than some friends who as ‘wailing women’ really and truly cried as Jesus was nailed to the cross. And yet I didn’t want to be there. What made it worse was that the script gave space for the words of various hymns to be sung (either by us all or by a solo voice) and I had to flit from my Christian faith and ministry, back to my bigoted, uncaring, humiliating role, every few minutes – I could not retreat into either ‘reality’.
Finally to cap it all, very few people really wanted to talk to me. Whilst I kept my black cassock on, people avoided me. Some friends actually said they didn’t like me any more – they were joking, but it wasn’t until I took my cassock off and flung it over my arm, that I was once again really welcome in the conversations of the people round me.
And with all this in mind, I must now turn to planning our ‘Hour at the Cross’ for Good Friday.