The morning I signed up to write this devotion, there was a traffic jam at the table. When it was my turn, feeling that I should make my choice quickly, I selected the first open slot I saw. Reading my passage this afternoon, I'm regretting my haste.
In Luke 23:18-25, Jesus, cleared of the charges against him, stands before Pilate an innocent man. Undeterred, an angry mob shouts, "Crucify him!"
I remember being shaken by this reading every year as a child, especially when the congregation was exhorted to shout out the words. "Crucify him! Crucify him!" we'd yell, feeling in ourselves the frenzy of the angry mob.
Last night I was reading the passage in Matthew where, realizing Mary and Joseph had outsmarted him, King Herod murders every child in Bethlehem under the age of two. Somehow I've never let Rachel's weeping color my understanding of the nativity. Is the holy family, infuriating Herod by whisking Jesus away to safety, somehow implicated in those murders? It's a lose lose.
I wonder if Jesus knew about the children who were killed while Mary and Joseph escaped with him to safety. I wonder if he thought about those children as he stood before the crowd calling for his death. I wonder if that's why he was silent.
I don't pretend to know. Today angry mobs seem to be shouting everywhere. I wish the story had another character, a different ending. I want there to be a woman standing on the edge of the crowd, not yelling, not clamoring for the death of either man. I want her to be pregnant, one hand resting lightly on her belly, her whole body clamoring for life.