Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Lord: Chapter 61, “The Trial”

Dear friend,

Recently, I spent five hours in our school library poring over editions of the student newspaper published during our years there. It was like restoring the scratched black-and-white print of a movie classic from which most of the important stuff has been deleted. Why didn’t I remember that? And that? Wow!

Or as we would have said then, Oh wow!

Reading Romano Guardini is like this, and I urge you to do it if you haven’t already begun. Looking “back” at accounts like that of Jesus’s trial, first read to most of us as children in church or Sunday school, Guardini injects fresh reality and credibility by inserting between-the-lines detail. Then he looks at the reconstructed historical account with fresh eyes. “We must shake off a two-thousand-year-old simplification of Christ as ‘as our dear Savior,’” he writes, if we want to accompany Guardini on this journey of rediscovery.

This is the longest chapter in The Lord. Indeed the day of his capture, trial, and execution must have been the longest day for Jesus. After a ten-page (!) reconstruction and opening out of the Gospel record, RG offers an appraisal that will deepen your faith, I promise you. The italics here are mine:

“The account rings with sacred truth. Never rhetorical, it is rendered simply and objectively. Not a word about Jesus' possible emotions; no hint of the author's reactions. We have only to imagine what a modern reporter would have made of the ‘story’ to feel the straightforwardness with which this event, upon which the eternal salvation of the world depended, is recorded. That is why it is so convincing . . . ”

We should be reassured by the report’s veracity, but we also should be disturbed by the finger it points at all of us:

“What is most disquieting about the whole account of the end is the sudden unanimousness of Jesus’ enemies, diabolical antithesis of the peace and harmony of God’s kingdom.”

When and wherever we mass together—Pharisees and Saducees with common people and political leaders—all shouting the same thing, we should suspect some “diabolical” influence.

“It is frightening to witness this hate-torn world suddenly united for one brief hour . . . ”

Such things happen in prep schools too. Check out our student newspaper sometime.

In fellowship,
WB

This series of posts on Romano Guardini’s The Lord continues here with chapter 62.

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