Can It Happen Here?
Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. (Matthew 27:50)
The weather report this morning is calling for strong storms later today. Straight-line winds, hail, and possible tornados. The weathercaster encouraged us to think about a safe place where we could go in case of the worst. I looked at my wife and said, “As a mid-western male, I’ll be standing on the back porch looking at the southwestern sky.” She didn’t think it was funny.
The fact is there have been times over the years where she and the kids have been in the basement, and I was standing on the back porch looking at the southwestern sky. Mind you, it is a very short distance from the back porch to the basement and I never felt it any danger. But I also think that deep down, I didn’t think that it would happen here.
It’s human nature to think, “It can’t happen here.” Tornados. School shootings. Toxic train derailments. Those things happen somewhere else. Always somewhere else. We never think, “Well, maybe it CAN happen here.”
I wonder if that sense of “It can’t happen here” doesn’t frame our approach to Holy Week? The Sunday crowd is usually a little bigger on Palm Sunday, as we celebrate Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. And, of course, the crowd is downright ginormous, relatively speaking, on Easter Sunday. In between? Maundy Thursday? Good Friday? It’s just another week.
Why think about Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial? WE would never do such a thing. It can’t happen here.
Why think about the crowds demanding the release of Barabbas instead of Jesus? WE would never choose anything over Jesus. It can’t happen here.
Why remember his Last Supper, his trials, his cross, and the moment he breathed his last? WE certainly wouldn’t put Jesus to death. No, no, no. It can’t happen here.
Or can it?