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God & Christianity

Breaking News?

Breaking News?

“Breaking news.”

I don’t know about you, but I find myself increasingly unable, in a networked world, to figure out exactly what that means. A gunman in France holding people hostage. The President’s latest tweet. A vote on a budget. The scores from the NCAA tournament. They are all accessible online.

Because I’m a journalist (or that’s my excuse anyway), I have a multitude of news apps on my phone. When an editor in New York or Los Angeles or D.C. deems something important (funny how the hive-mind works) my news apps seem to beep at the same time. When there’s a faith angle (because that’s my beat), I often take a second look.

If the story looks like it might be of interest to one of my various audiences, or if I’m curious about its implications for public life, I may dig a little deeper.  I ask questions, make phone calls, try to think of what I’m missing.

What was it like to experience the last week of Jesus’ life on earth as breaking news? Even without the smartphones and the beeps, it must have been intense. The entry into Jerusalem with the unruly if celebratory crowd. The chaos of the scene when Jesus turns over the tables of the moneychangers who thronged the courts of the Jewish temple. The tension between the young teacher and the older authorities, not to mention the Roman soldiers and leaders who lurked in the background.

And underneath it all, in this society in which an oppressed people who believed they had a divine call to be free groaned under the yoke of their captors and local henchmen, the smell of dissent, of hostility, even of rebellion.

You can almost taste the excitement when Jesus proclaims the dawn of a new kingdom with his entrance in Jerusalem—but perhaps you aren’t surprised when word gets around that some of the followers of this young leader are looking for a chance to rat him out.

Many though not all of us have observed the week before Easter in some way—or at least have heard the stories.  Maybe we go to church—perhaps we don’t. But we know how the story ends, don’t we? Or, at least, how other people believe that it ended.

But what if we took the coming week to watch the scene as if we were looking at it for the first time? What if we followed our curiosity where it led us? What if we approached each experience with an open mind, eager to gather as much information as we possibly could?

There’s a lot of “breaking news” coming at us this week.  Maybe we could take the time, before making a judgment, to look and listen, engaging the life of this young leader from Galilee as if we were meeting him (again?) for the first time.

This post reflects the views of the author, and is intended to start a conversation. Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

Or, if you’d like to hear some thoughts about Jesus from Christians at THRED, you can find those over here.

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Evans is a freelance writer, columnist and mother of two young adults. Her work has been published in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Religion News Service, LNP Media Inc., the National Catholic Reporter/Global Sisters Report and many other media outlets.

1 Comment

  1. Jerusalem was packed for Passover; every household had out-of-town guests and every inn was full. Streets and markets were crowded. Sure, there was tons of talk about Jesus and just who exactly is he? But most folk were focused on family, meal preparations, guest accommodations, visiting with people that you only get to see a couple of times per year, or only get to see after years-long intervals.
    With all the commotion, hardly anyone noticed that the Sanhedrin broke their own rules and held a trial at night, then hustled the criminal off to the Procurator for sentencing, then off for a hearing before the Galilean King, who sent him back to the Procurator. Four proceedings in quick succession, after hours, at night, followed by an early morning execution. No crowds gathered; they all had their own business and families to tend. It was shameful business. Even town gossips were mostly too busy to notice.

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