It’s Good Friday y’all! The day Jesus was murdered on the Cross by a sect of pompous haters. The goal was to get rid of him, but the result was mankind’s salvation. Now there’s a version of the Salvation story you’ve never heard before.
I truly do enjoy being a Christian. For one, it’s extremely economical and for another it’s really simple. In polytheistic religions/societies, there is a constant fear of offending the 16 or more gods that rule over your sphere of existence. So if, for example, you eat shell fish on Tuesday, it might not rain during the wet season because the goddess of the ocean, Tigali, is furious that you dared to defy her by eating shellfish on Tuesday – a forbidden day! She then angrily approaches the god council and tells her cousin, the Rain Goddess, to teach all mortals a lesson by withholding rain. That’ll show you.
In Christianity, there’s only one God to offend, and that’s just better time management. Furthermore, we’re luckier than other religions, because our God pretty much does all the work for us. According to His word, our righteousness is as filthy rags and there are no good works through which we can earn our way into Heaven. Jesus is the only perfect sacrifice and all you have to do is say “Yeah Father, I’ll have me some of that Jesus…some of that good ol’ salvation” and you’re home free!
My years spent as a Muslim were some of the most tedious of my life. All that washing up and bending and bowing 5 times a day…and the hatred! Ugh. Hating people of other religions was so exhausting. As a Christian, you go ahead, preach your gospel and if the people don’t receive it you dust your sandals off you keep on trekking. In the brand of Islam I was instructed in, if you reject Islam, then the Islamists have every right to proclaim a holy jihad on your a**. You can debate and dispute me on this if you like, but have a chat with the few hundred Sudanese animists who have had their tendons sliced by their Arab captors for refusing a conversion to Islam – this week.
The point of today’s blog is give props to a player who rarely gets any recognition in the Good Friday Story: Mary. Jesus couldn’t have died for the sins of the world if he had never been born, and He was born because Mary allowed it. Mary was an extraordinary woman, because had I been in her shoes, history would have looked mighty different.
Come with me -2050 years ago to the ancient Middle East.
Malaka was kneeling in the modest kitchen of her rented clay home, frantically kneading bread before the Sabbath. Suddenly, she heard a voice she didn’t recognize.
“Behold!” the voice said cheerfully.
Malaka jumped in surprise and flung a cleaver in the direction of the voice. It lodged into the wall.
“Who are you?!” she demanded.
The man cleared his throat and regained his composure.
“I am Michael, the Archangel of the Lord. I have come with glad tidings for you. Behold, Malaka! You are far blessed among all women. The Lord has chosen you to bear His Son! This very night, you shall receive the Seed/Spirit of the Lord and will bring hope and joy to all mankind!”
“Wait a second,” she said in protest. “You want I to do what now?”
The angel was getting frustrated. Things weren’t going as he’d practiced in his head. She was supposed to be really glad to hear this news, and they would move on from there.
“God wants you to have a baby so He can offer salvation to mankind, a’ight?”
“Nah partner. That ain’t about to happen. Have you looked around you? This is Bethlehem. They murder unmarried women for having babies around here. I was only able to escape the first time because I fled from another town. I told them I was a widow.”
The angel looked puzzled.
“The first time?” he asked.
“Yeah. I’ve got a daughter.”
“You mean you’re not a virgin?”
“Why would the Lord want to use a womb that has been tainted and abused by another…”
The angel let his voice trail off. Malaka was glaring at him. He continued.
“Nevertheless, He uses imperfect vessels for His divine and perfect work and He has chosen you.”
The angel smiled eagerly. Malaka was skeptical.
“Look here…Michael?…you seem really nice, but I got a good thing going here with Joseph. He’s one of the few men, maybe the ONLY man, in all of Israel who is willing to take on a single mom and MARRY her. Can you imagine what it’ll look like if I turn up pregnant…and just a few months before we’re supposed to jump the broom?” She shook her head. “For real dude? That’s not cool at all. The Lord wouldn’t ask me to put myself out there like that!”
Michael looked defeated and confused. Humans were supposed to want to live for God! He slumped over in the kitchen, breathing shallowly and rubbing his temples. Malaka felt a little bit of compassion for the being. He seemed genuinely upset.
“By the by, what does the future for the son that I might bare hold?” she asked. “I’m not making any promises.”
The angel brightened up.
“He is destined to save Mankind! He will be called Emmanuel, and will lead millions of people into the Lord’s bosom!”
“And how will he do that?”
“By dying on the Cross!” the angel explains, whispering with passion.
“No,” Malaka repeated. “MY son is going to the IIC, will become a skilled carpenter, marry a pretty girl with hazel eyes, and give me a gaggle of beautiful grandchildren.”
“Israeli Institute of Carpentry.”
The angel was trembling agitation, as if he had the mind to just put God’s Seed in her, regardless of how she felt. But that’s not how the Lord operated. Malaka had to be willing, just as her son would have to be willing to die on the Cross. He glared at her.
“Would everyone be given the opportunity to receive salvation?” she asked, pausing to put her bread dough in the earthenware oven.
“Yes!” the angel said excitedly. “All mankind could enter the gates of Heaven, upon accepting your son…or God’s Son rather, as their Lord and savior.”
“Even Douche Bag?”
“Douche Bag. The dude who knocked me up and left me alone with this baby. The reason I’ve spent the last 3 years in turmoil, running from city to city. Douche Bag…does he get a shot at heaven?”
“Well…yeah. I guess. If he accepts salvation…”
“The definitely no.”
“If Douche Bag gets to go to heaven after all he’s done to me, and then the baby I give birth to gives him a shot a paradise, I’m going to choose ‘Things that ain’t going down today’ for $200 Alex.”
The angel was stunned. He knew women were stubborn, but he had never met one that was so…belligerent.
“So that’s it, huh?” he asked with much irritation. “You’re just gonna let the whole world go to hell?”
“Does that world include Douche Bag?”
“Yes! Of course!”
Malaka went back to kneading more bread and turned her back on Michael. He had had enough anyway. He floated off to give a full report to the heavenly hosts and to ask if they have a Plan B in mind.
Fortunately for us all, Mary was obedient and I was neither born in that day, nor asked to sacrifice my body for you cruel ingrates. Now go celebrate the Lord.
Happy Good Friday.