“Here we are, you and I, and I hope a third, Christ, is in our midst.”
Aelred of Rievaulx, 12th Centurynext >
Pilate went back into the palace. He summoned Jesus and asked, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own or have others spoken to you about me?”
Pilate responded, “I’m not a Jew, am I? Your nation and its chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?”
Jesus replied, “My kingdom doesn’t originate from this world. If it did, my guards would fight so that I wouldn’t have been arrested by the Jewish leaders. My kingdom isn’t from here.”
John 18:33-36next >
With this loaded question: “Are you the king of the Jews?” Pontius Pilate no doubt wants to lure Jesus into a trap from which he cannot escape. And Pilate doesn’t want to take any blame for the consequences. After all, he’s not a Jew; he claims that he’s “simply” doing the bidding of those who handed Jesus over to him.
Election season is already going strong in the U.S., and I can’t help thinking about the current political scenario when I read about Pilate. I’ve found myself wondering if the potential presidential candidates (on either side of the aisle) are guided by love and truth and a deep desire to strengthen the nation. Or are they “playing to the base” in terms of their party’s core voters and our most unattractive and dangerous political instincts? Are they interested in power and authority for selfish ends with no real concern for the building of community?
Let us seek to be a community guided by love and truth.
Christine Vogelnext >
God of mercy and justice, help us walk humbly; guide us to make wise and compassionate use of whatever authority you have given us. Amen.next >
“Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. […] Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet, 1929
Rev. Christine B. Vogel, D. Min., a Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), has served as an associate pastor, a college chaplain, and the Dean of Students at McCormick Theological Seminary. Currently she works as a certified Spiritual Director at Claret Center in Chicago, Illinois.
Walking Toward Morning: Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus