I know I’m always going on about the early Christians and how they taught that the way of Jesus is a path of subtraction more than addition. Indeed, they strove hard to become loving, forgiving, kind, and compassionate. They dropped the things that brought them down or served as a distraction from their surrender to God. They knew how to let go.
Thomas à Kempis, in his spiritual classic The Imitation of Christ, also advocated making a regular practice of letting go: “To sum up, dear friend of mine, unclench your fists, and let everything fly out of your hands. Clean yourself up nicely and stay faithful to your Creator.”
But how does this work out practically? How do we apply these principles in our post-Christendom neck of the woods, for instance, where there are moves afoot by the AFL to ‘pilot’ a football match on arguably the most significant day in the Christian calendar?
I invite you to consider and reflect upon my light-hearted, yet hopefully thought provoking, re-write, of Mark’s gospel account of the decision of Pilate [15:6-15].
Now at the beginning of the AFL season, they used to release an additional day of footy for them, any day that they asked.
Now there was a murderous day called ‘Good Friday’ that had been imprisoned for many years.
So the crowd came and asked the new AFL Chief Executive to do for them according to AFL custom.
Then he answered them, “Do you want me to release for you Christmas Day?”
For he realised that there was more than one sacred non-footy day.
But the journalists stirred up the crowd to have him release ‘Good Friday’ for them instead.
The Chief Executive spoke to them again, “then what do you wish me to do with Christmas Day?”
They shouted back, “keep it aside, keep it as it is for now – for tinsel and gifts and eating.”
The Chief Executive asked them, “Eating? Why? What is so special about that, what about football sized Easter eggs and all those hot cross buns?”
But they shouted all the more: “We can get those anytime, “Give us the day, give us Good Friday!”
So the new Chief Executive, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released ‘Good Friday’ for them;
And after flogging it in the newspapers and TV, the crowds came and saw footy on ‘Good Friday’.