Good Friday: The Suffering of God
Like many Bishops I’m frequently asked to speak out against blasphemy and condemn outrageous portrayals of Jesus in the media. More often than not the point’s made that programme-makers would never dare do this to the prophet Mohammed, so why should they do it to Christ. Some go on to say that the fact that shows like Jerry Springer the Opera are staged and televised is because Christianity has lost its power and is no longer a force to be reckoned with in our society.
Part of my reply is that I’ve no desire to give free publicity, but there is a deeper reason which I’ve discussed with my Muslim friends. In Islam the mocking of God is an intolerable offence. That’s why crowds fill the streets to demonstrate against every humiliation of their faith. Indeed, one of the reasons that Muslims cannot accept the divinity of Jesus is that they cannot believe that God would have allowed his Son to suffer.
But for Christians the abusing of God goes to the heart of our belief. Christ crucified is where our faith begins. When people despise and reject him they’re only doing what they did in the beginning. One of the reasons most Christians don’t take to the streets is not because we no longer care, but because the humiliation of God is what we embrace every time we take communion. This is the token of a body broken, of blood spilt and of the mocking of God. What sustains us - is that even though people should despise him and drive nails through his hands ‘he loves us to the end’.From the BBC, Bp. James Jones of Liverpool