Bystanders. When have you been a bystander? Maybe watching an altercation of some kind. Or a car accident. Or the dogs in the dog park. There are many occasions when we may be bystanders. Sometimes innocent bystanders.
We can well imagine that there were bystanders at the crucifixion. That was the whole idea, anyway. For people to see the gruesome deaths, be intimidated, and keep in line. We can wonder if Jesus’ friends and followers were bystanders? Or had they all fled and deserted him? Which may be worse. Could one be an innocent bystander to the crucifixion?
I think Jesus was crucified because he wasn’t a bystander. He didn’t just stand by as people were treated unfairly. He didn’t stand by as religion trampled people. He didn’t casually stand by in the face of blatant hypocrisy. He didn’t stand by as people suffered at the hands of others. He didn’t stand by when people were hungry, for food, or for hope, or for community, or for forgiveness. I don’t think Jesus was a bystander.
People are being crucified today. People are being oppressed today. People are being trampled today. People are hungry today. People are abused today. We may be bystanders, but not innocent bystanders.
Lectionary readings for today:
Prayer: May we have the courage of our convictions and trust God even when the risk is great; especially when the risk is great. Amen.