Is it possible that our world still knows better how to deal with a bandit, a murderer, an insurrectionist than it knows what to do with the Prince of Peace? There is a sense in which an assassin's attempt on the Pope's life is less shocking to our world than the Pope's forgiveness of him. Is it possible that we would rather deal with raw power that rides on a stallion than with this one who comes on a donkey, with the weapons of love, patience, suffering and peace? Given the choice, isn't it possible that we would take Barabbas, too? - from What Will You Do with King Jesus? by James A. Harnish; as quoted in A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God, p. 166.Given the choice...do you publicly cheer those causes and/or individuals whom some powers have identified as dangerous, inappropriate or revolutionary?
Given the choice...would you invite to an important dinner party one who had already betrayed you?
Given the choice...would you entrust the most important story the world has known to a motley group who had already proven, time and again, to be fickle, thick-headed, doubt-filled, somewhat cowardly and more interested in seating arrangements in glory than earthly mission?
Given the choice...would you choose gruesome suffering played out before your entire community or a hasty, yet private, retreat from principle and identity?
Given the choice...would you choose victimizing the one whom powers you fear have identified as the victim du jour rather than stand against those same powers?
Given the choice...would you forgive the very persons who have sought to destroy or undermine your reputation, your career, or your life?
But...we are given the choice...not just during Holy Week...but each day we're privileged to live. Does a week go by where we aren't faced with at least one of these choices in one form or another? In one sense, the events of Holy Week become the soundtrack over which the life and choices of every Christian is projected.
I confess, it is only by the power of the Holy Spirit nurtured by a vital relationship with Christ, that the default setting for my choices are moved from silence to cheering, from exclusion to invitation, from hasty retreats to self-sacrifice, and from grudges to forgiveness.
But, there's one more choice. Just speaking for myself, it is this choice that makes the others possible. Given the choice...will you venture out to experience the empty tomb for yourself or cave in to the conventional wisdom that gives death the final word?