Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Sean Major-Campbell | Don’t cry for Jesus, cry for your neighbour

Published:Saturday | April 8, 2017 | 4:00 AMSean Major-Campbell

Holy Week 2017 is here, and many Christians will celebrate the Passion of the Christ. Many will recall the accounts of Christ's life, death, and resurrection.

This is a time when movies, plays, sermons, and liturgies speak to the crucifixion with all the gore of beating, nailing, bleeding, and dying. There is much focus on the death of Jesus the Christ on the ancient symbol of condemnation, shame, and death.

I wonder, though, if we have become so focused on the death of Jesus, while ignoring the death of our fellow citizens, fellow sisters and brothers, fellow Jamaicans, who die, or worse, suffer their whole life under oppression?

It is mind-boggling that some who cry while watching a movie on the Passion of Christ could not care less about violence against women and children, or the law's negligence in defining rape in gender-neutral and object-neutral terms; or the gross disregard for the reproductive and health rights of women.

Is there a likelihood that religion satisfies in some persons a need to cry about pain and death, while they ignore the present reality of people in their suffering, confusion, loneliness, pain, and dying?

Without denying the historical account of Jesus' crucifixion, I wonder if the time has come for the Cross to be tagged with some post notes bringing focus to the current pains and struggles of people living with and among us? Maybe in the veneration of the Cross, we might be more realistically moved if we placed some notes on that cross or at the foot of that cross. Notes with words such as: abused children, forgotten homeless, stigmatised gays, condemned transgender, oppressed LGBT persons, abused men, abused women, battered wives, battered husbands, your name, my name, Jamaica, those in prison, those falsely accused, molested children, children in need of care and protection.

 

STRUGGLE RIGHT HERE

 

That person waiting by the pool of Siloam is now at the fountain in Emancipation Park. That woman at the well is now standing by the waterfront in downtown Kingston. Those women weeping on the Way of the Cross are waiting for several hours at public hospitals across Jamaica. The Via Dolorosa is trodden by children who are crying out for help, screaming, and you hear, since you are just next door. But you remain silent. You will, however, cry on Good Friday for Jesus!

And so Jesus says, "Weep not for me, but for your children." Jesus says to the men of Jamaica regarding women, "Behold your mother." Jesus says to the women regarding all young men and boys, "Behold your son."

If your practice of religion or spirituality or politics or civil society work is not helping you to become a better person and equipping you to build a better human community, you are wasting your time and that of others! Prayer and piety are nothing without love. Resurrection celebration is empty if, in 2017, it is only about the Jesus of history.

This Holy Week, may we move towards the resurrection of our many children who have died on the inside while walking around in our homes, schools, churches, and various communities, merely existing for the pain that lives within. Let the dead voices of our selfish and fearful egos arise to speak for justice and healing.

May we indeed wash the feet or serve in love all those we profess to love, remembering that in as much as we have done it unto the least, we do it unto Christ and indeed for the good of all humanity.

- Father Sean Major-Campbell is a human-rights advocate. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and seanmajorcampbell@yahoo.com.