A Thousand Deaths
If nothing else has stuck with you this past year, I do hope that yesterday’s post chastened you to ponder treating the waitstaff with kindness. Something as simple as the consideration of how we use our words, how we feel, the tone of our voice, the look on our face – in others words, our situational awareness – provides the necessary connection of our spirit back to heaven…His kingdom come to earth and all that. While we might be concerned with the perfect latte, Jesus is concerned with the imperfect barista. And he’s concerned with the imperfect you…and me. And that’s how it’s all supposed to work.
Why is that important? The most obvious answer is because the insignificant moments are ubiquitous. We have way more of those than we have of momentous moments. It’s easy to attend a rally, march in a protest, or place a “Like” under some affecting post on Facebook. Virtue signaling becomes almost effortless in our connected world. But are we really virtuous? We put more effort into making sure we’re seen to be caring than actually caring. The Scriptures call that hypocrisy. Virtue signalers really don’t care to be called out on that. But we’re easily fooled. We catch the wave of some popular meme about saving the planet, or loving the world or some such, yet easily transition to hateful words about our neighbor. Jesus sees it all.
All of this bends back to Jesus talking earnestly to his disciples about what lies ahead for (he, himself, or him) and for them. He will die. They will die. They will die because the world hates what it is they have to say. It will not be a debate on the merits of the message. Each disciple will become a strawman worthy of the torch.
And it’s this dying theme which is front and center to our faith. We baptize as a symbol of descending into the grave and arising anew. We take the cup and the bread – symbols of blood and a broken body. It’s why we should do the latter of these on a regular basis. The death of Christ, frequently considered, keeps us centered. He died. We will die. But before that, we must experience a thousand deaths.