Friday, April 02, 2010

Three Scattered Thoughts on Good Friday

Today is Good Friday. I wake up reflecting on Jesus and thinking about the Cross, the World's continued ignorance of Jesus, and how the Church continues to be under unfair labeling by media.

1) Thinking of Jesus and the Cross
It is a time to remember Jesus being captured, cursed, and crucified at the Cross. As we enter the last week of Lent, that climaxes in Easter Sunday or Resurrection Sunday, it is good to remember the work of Christ. It is important to know where our faith, our Christian belief centers on. It is Jesus. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. It is because of Jesus' willingness to go to the cross, and die for all mankind, that we have hope. The Apostle's Creed says it poignantly, which is a summary and uniting statement for the vast majority of Christian denominations and quarters.

And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, dead, and buried:
He descended into hell;
The third day he rose again from the dead;

2) Thinking about the World Ignoring the Cross
Good Friday is a significant event for Christians all over the world. I know of some friends who would rather forget Christmas, instead of forgetting Good Friday. It is significant because, it is not Christmas, but Jesus's death on the cross that is the act of dying to give this world a new hope and opportunity to be restored back to God. About 2 billion people in the world have adopted Christianity as their faith, almost a third of the world's population. That is a significant number.

Unfortunately, I feel that many are not willing to take into consideration this number. Take Google for example. As a search company, their algorithms work on the basis of popularity and numbers. The more people links to a particular site, the more 'important' and 'relevant' this information is. On special days, on their plain white background search page, there will be special pictures to commemorate a significant event on the day itself. For example, when the Winter Olympics started, there was this:

For special days like New Year's Day, it will be like this:

Not Good Friday. While many countries with a Christian presence declare Good Friday a national holiday, the giant search corporations prefers to remember the birthday of Hans Christian Anderson, the story teller. Even Halloween gets to have their icon on Google. Not Good Friday. Not Jesus. It is another example of how the world conveniently ignores Jesus, in favour of other gods.

So Hans Christian Anderson is more significant than Good Friday. Mmmmph. Either someone is a big Hans Christian Anderson fan, or he is plain ignorant of the significance of Good Friday. Come Easter Sunday, what do you think you will see? I think the Easter bunny and the chocolate eggs will dominate the headlines. Again!

3) Thinking of the Church Carrying the Cross
A thought provoking article was written by Dr David Horn of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He has recently returned from some humanitarian projects in New Orleans. He makes a sharp comment asking: "Where is Brad Pitt Now?" When the Katrina crisis first blew over, many people pay attention. The media swarm the place for coverage. People give generously to various agencies to help the hurricane victims. That was back in 2005. Now, about 5 years later, where are the famous movie stars? Where is popular media? What happens to the rebuilding projects that began with so much fanfare?

Not the movie stars. Not the big-time media. All they are doing right now is to look for the latest and the greatest excitement happening in town. Katrina is no longer exciting. Horn further observes that the real people picking up the pieces left behind, the ones who are faithfully and quietly helping are the religious groups, like Churches and many other faith based organizations. Where are the stars? What is the media portraying religions, especially Christianity?

Horn makes a stark contrast of the difference, and the injustice that is inflicted on Christianity.
"Which brings me back to Brad Pitt. Where is he now? One of the unsung songs in the national media, now that the television cameras are gone after five years, is that it is almost solely faith-based organizations—churches, Christian schools, and other religious organizations-- that are still packing their bags and heading down to New Orleans to patch the city back together again. Where did everyone else go? But why should the national media care? They already have their story. And the story is that apparently the church is full of hypocrites who think about little else but heaven." (Horn)

So while the Church continues to pick up the pieces, and be faithful to help in little ways, the mass media in general continues to portray the Church as a bunch of hypocrites only concerned about heaven. What kind of reporting will that become?


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