Holy Thursday: The arrest of God

By Simon Barrow
April 22, 2011

Having just finished my own initial reflections on the meaning of Easter, as refracted through two connected mini-dramas marked on Holy Thursday, I came across this arresting short piece (if you'll pardon the pun, given its topic) by Nathan Schneider.

Nathan is senior editor of the ever-stimulating Killing the Buddha webzine, and he writes about religion, reason and violence for a variety of other publications, too. He is always worth reading - by which (sincerely meant) compliment, I hope he will forgive me for reproducing all of his blog here, while duly encouraging you to dip into all the related material (http://killingthebuddha.com/author/nathan/).

I was particularly struck by the juxtaposition of "the arrest of God" and a "setting free" that pre-echoes the continuation of the narrative on Good Friday.

Nathan writes:

Today I watched a man go free. I was on a jury, trying him for the crime of breaking into an apartment and stealing a cell phone. We heard the evidence and deliberated for two days. Most people thought he probably did it. He had a mean look about him. But the evidence wasn’t there to say more. A suspect testimony, the same that first got him in jail. He’d been held for a year almost to the day, before today, when he went free.

The man stood up. We saw him standing for the first time, and we saw how small he was. “Not guilty.” Count two. “Not guilty.” He wept.

Today I celebrate the arrest of my God, who tomorrow was executed. (When else can one use the past tense to speak about tomorrow?) Barabbas went free.

Counsel conveyed a message from the free man to his jury. “Thank you. God bless you.” It’s something when those words you hear a zillion times, unto meaninglessness, actually seem to mean something again.

The original is here: http://killingthebuddha.com/ktblog/set-free-on-holy-thursday/

Nathan Schneider is also a founding editor of Waging Nonviolence (http://www.wagingnonviolence.org/). Visit his website at The Row Boat (http://www.therowboat.com/).


Simon Barrow is co-director of Ekklesia. See 'The religious betrayal of God and its antidote' - http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/14612

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