Sometimes something happens that seems to fit the situation almost perfectly.
During Good Friday we stand with Jesus at his trial and crucifixion, in the midst of the noise and anger of the crowd calling for Barabbas and the conniving and scheming of the religious elite and the non acceptance of any responsibility by the Pilate – he washes his hands.
Three young men are crucified side by side on Golgotha as a result. Two may have indeed been responsible for some crime but hardly deserved death. The other died because, through his actions, he exposed the false morality and the crimes of the religious, the government and, in the end, the people. He challenged the underlying story his people told themselves – that they were the children of Abraham and were entitled as a result to act as they did. They could do no wrong.
In the last week we have watched this story play out before our eyes. Three young men have been crucified, not on a cross but in the screens of public media; not on Golgotha but on a cricket field in a far off country; by not only the media and its public but the Chief Priest and scribe of this country, the Prime Minister.
Their crime? Scheming to get an advantage of their competition in a game of cricket. Their punishment? To be wiped from the country’s mind as pariahs and Judas’ the great betrayer.
Why? Because their actions have laid bear for this country the truth about our founding myth. The myth that Australia was and is a moral and just country and is unable to act badly, immorally, unjustly in any circumstances. Our national anthem blares it while we refuse refugees, our media responds with excitement when citizens of other countries act badly but scrambles to find the good in those of its citizens who act badly elsewhere. And we dare not challenge the unjust and immoral acts of representatives of our government or the government itself.
What the three young men who have been vilified and punished beyond what any reasonable person would think appropriate, are suffering is the collective fear we have of facing the reality about ourselves and our essential storyline. They are being punished for being human with all the faults and foibles that go with it, and being Australian at the same time. Being human and Australian simply isn’t our story. We are beyond condemnation and we take the high moral ground, pointing the finger at others as being unlike us.
The accusation pointed at the 3 young men is the worst that can be placed upon you as a citizen of this country – unAustralian. For that they deserve to be painted out of our memory and exist no more.
Jesus went to the cross because he dared to be human and say as a human how you are acting as People is unjust and unspiritual. He died because he exposed humanity’s lie- that we, left to our own devices, do not act as children of God, any god, and stoop to the basest of human urges – to win for ourselves.
He dared to align himself with those whose humanity placed them on the margins of society, those who had cheated, failed and lived immorally.
He dared with his last breath to confirm that alignment you comforting at least one of those crucified with him with words of solidarity. He remained, until the end, human and real.
The two stories of three young men may have different endings but the truth they both have exposed remains – humanity and Australia, humans and Australians are not without stain, and the story we tell about ourselves has been exposed as the lies they are.
One story requires our leniency and welcome and an acceptance of the truth about our nation; the other demands that we accept our selfishness and repent, looking toward to a time when we begin to live authentically because we have accepted who we are.