The Stupidity of Christ’s Endurance: A Good Friday Reflection

“A Not so Good Night in the San Pedro of the World”

it’s unlikely that a decent poem in in me
tonight
and I understand that this is strictly my
problem
and of no interest to you
that I sit here listening to a man playing
a piano on the radio
and it’s bad piano, both the playing and
the composition
and again, this is of no interest to you
as one of my cats,
a beautiful white with strange markings,
sleeps in the bathroom.

I have no idea of what would be of
interest to you
but I doubt that you would be of
interest to me, so don’t get
superior.
in fact, come to think of it, you can
kiss my ass.

I continue to listen to the piano.
this will not be a memorable night in my
life
or yours.

let us celebrate the stupidity of our
endurance.

–Charles Bukowski

You can imagine, on a random Friday 2000 years ago, the insignificance of another public execution for the vast majority of people in the far eastern portion of the Roman empire. Thousands upon thousands had followed a similar fate, so these three men, on this particular Friday, barely registered to many of those in the region. Yes, there were a few tears shed by those closest to the men who hung on crosses that day. Yes, there were a few fearful, local religious leaders who cheered and jeered One of the men who was put to death – afraid that this man would overthrow the ruling order of the day.

On that very day, no poems were written for their fates, and no one would have cared if there were any. There were no songs sung or music played in these men’s honor. Just the same ole tune that quietly reverberated within the walls and homes of those who played them each and every day.

Those who cared for each other continued to do so; those who hated each other did the same. Children played in the streets; fishermen headed out to sea; families ate in their homes; preparation for the sabbath was underway. Criminals are put to death; so called “messiahs” vanish as quickly and as they arrived. Life was as beautiful or as ugly as it had always been. The people carried on with their lives as one does when bodies hang upon trees as often as leaves drop from them each Fall.

And yet, today, we celebrate the stupidity of a story that has endured for generations – a stupidity of endurance similar to the central figure crucified that day.

The Word become flesh, the second person of the Trinity, the One who was ushering in a new, radical Kingdom. Him, the Son of God, was there that day. Not as an observer, not as a community organizer fighting for a more just response to the “crimes” committed by these three. Instead, he was one of them.

The night before, this very man had asked the Father for the cup, which was to be filled with his blood, to be taken from him. The Son of Man – able to straighten the crooked knee, bring light to the darkened eyes, breathe life into the lifeless – cried out for his very own life to be saved. He wept and asked for what was to come, what life to be given, to be rendered in a different way.

When the Father chose not to reply, He had only one option: to take his cup, endure the journey up to the mount of death, and drink.

St. Paul says the cross is foolishness – stupidity – to the wise. I think he is right.

The stupidity of Jesus’s conscious endurance is the very same stupidity we, as followers of Him, choose. The cup that Jesus drank from, the path that Jesus followed, is not just a path to celebrate because it brings about our eternal salvation. Instead, we also celebrate it like we do when our children grow a year older.

We participate in it. We participate in the stupidity of the games they love, the themes they conjure up, and the toys they pine for. We walk the very path they walk as foolish as it may seem.

And why do we do it? Because of love.

As we celebrate this “Good Friday”, may we celebrate the stupidity of Christ’s endurance and follow with a similar endurance, through the empowering of His spirit, the stupidity – the foolishness – he modeled for us. For…

“…we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

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