Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Racism and Tibet

I’ve often wondered at how lightly we take Christ’s new commandment ‘to love one another as I have loved you.’ I doubt that one Christian in ten has the slightest idea what the Maundy in Maundy Thursday refers to, can recite the new commandment, or would take it very seriously if they did know it. And yet, this is the very heart of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. On Good Friday that new commandment is given dramatic emphasis in our remembrance of the tremendous depth to which God was, and is, willing to go to engage with humanity for the salvation of humanity, even if humanity doesn’t give a damn.

Which brings me to the explosion of the inherent racism that seems to be embedded in the human psyche. After a rather gentle sneaking up on the subject over the course of this presidential campaign, we’ve been treated to night-after-night of reruns of the Rev. Wright’s worst rants, and the pundits shameless exploitation of them from every conceivable angle, all in the name of reporting of course. In local conversation there seems to be little remembrance of the ethnic viciousness over the last eight years from Falwell, Robertson, Dobson & Co., but boy do they want to talk about Wright. “Love one another as I have loved you.”

Which brings me to Tibet. China has a long history of deceiving itself about its own history, and I imagine that most Chinese will tell you that Tibet has always been a part of China in one way or another. That, of course, is quite unlike the honesty of American history, which remembers very well how the Cavalry rampaged over the American west rooting out indigenous resistance, and how the government made and then ignored dozens of so called treaties with them. Manifest Destiny was, I believe, what we called it then. Then there was the war with Mexico that managed to liberate California from corrupt Mexican rule and the likelihood that, on its own, it could have become an independent nation, or worse, a territory of some European power. Whew! And who knew there was gold in them thar hills? None of that justifies China’s Tibet policy, but it should do something to affect our response to it. I wonder how nations would relate to one another if they loved one another as Christ loved us? Do you remember the old Kingston Trio song from the 1950’s?

(Sheldon Harnick)

They’re rioting in Africa
They’re starving in Spain
There’s hurricanes in Florida
And Texas needs rain.

The whole world is festering
With unhappy souls
The French hate the Germans,
The Germans hate the Poles

Italians hate Yugoslavs
South Africans hate the Dutch
And I don’t like anybody very much

But we can be grateful
And thankful and proud
That man’s been endowed
With a mushroom shaped cloud

And we know for certain
That some happy day
Someone will set the spark off
And we will all be blown away

They’re rioting in Africa
There’s strife in Iran
What nature doesn’t do to us
Will be done by our fellow man.

3 thoughts on “Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Racism and Tibet”

  1. while i did not know the official translation of maundy thursday, i can attest to remembering and understanding the scene of christ washing his disciples feet and giving the command of which you speak. it reminds me of that other great commandment \”love your neighbor as yourself\”…unfortunately, i believe at our base beliefs that is exactly what we do, because i believe we do not love ourselves very well…we are usually our own worst enemies and then we take it out on our neighbors, families, whoever gets in the way. it all becomes about fear…if only we could reach the deepest core of LOVE…ahhh…maybe then some things could start to change! and there we are back again to \”love one another as i have loved you.\” it is so discouraging to think of that song being written so many years ago. we haven\’t come very far have we?

  2. CP – a thought provoking post – one that could make a head really ache if reflecting upon it too long. Wonder if that is the reason that we continue to NOT \”love our neighbors as ourselves\” – it\’s just too hard and makes our head hurt anyway – do you know who our neigbors are!! Well, sigh.I agree with Lucy about the Kingston Trio song, although she is certainly not old enough to remember it, I\’m sure. I think my mother must have sung it to me:) There was probably a lot of good hearted snickering at the words when they sang – so tragic that we take life and responsibility for others\’ well-being, so casually.Thanks, CP

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