Rev. Khristi Lauren Adams "They were going to do it anyway"Apr 10, 2022
To find out more about Rev. Khristi Lauren Adams please visit khristilaurenadams.com. And check out her books Parable of the Brown Girl: The Sacred Lives of Girls of Color, Unbossed: How Black Girls Are Leading the Way, and the middle-grade companion Black Girls Unbossed: Young World Changers Leading the Way.
In our interview, I mentioned two resources in our interview: a short video where Khristi talks about her theology of the body and and an article she recently wrote called "The audacity: When Black women decide for themselves."
In our conversation, we talk about this week's reading which discusses the trial and crucifixion of Jesus as well as Khristi's theology of the body and how being Black and a woman in America informs this spiritual perspective.
Some questions you might consider as you listen to the interview might be:
- Do you have a theology of the body? Why or why not? Has it changed over the last 10, 20, or more years?
- How has your body been welcomed? Rejected?
- Where do you see people being "sentenced" by the voices that surround them?
- What does "Becoming" mean to you at this stage in your life?
- How do you continue to speak your truth even when others have already made up their minds about how you are?
- If you are not existing in this world for other people, if you have been given a holy reason for existing, do you know what that is?
This is a special interview, part seven in a seven-part series on Lent. Some of our discussion explores the reading for the third Sunday in Lent. I've included the reading below (NRSV) along with some questions to help you reflect on the meaning of the reading, Lent, and what it means to be a contemplative.
Jesus before Pilate
23 Then the assembly rose as a body and brought Jesus before Pilate. 2 They began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man perverting our nation, forbidding us to pay taxes to the emperor, and saying that he himself is the Messiah, a king.” 3 Then Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” He answered, “You say so.” 4 Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no basis for an accusation against this man.” 5 But they were insistent and said, “He stirs up the people by teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee where he began even to this place.”
Jesus before Herod
6 When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. 7 And when he learned that he was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him off to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time. 8 When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had been wanting to see him for a long time, because he had heard about him and was hoping to see him perform some sign. 9 He questioned him at some length, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. 11 Even Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him; then he put an elegant robe on him, and sent him back to Pilate. 12 That same day Herod and Pilate became friends with each other; before this they had been enemies.
Jesus Sentenced to Death
13 Pilate then called together the chief priests, the leaders, and the people, 14 and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was perverting the people; and here I have examined him in your presence and have not found this man guilty of any of your charges against him. 15 Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us. Indeed, he has done nothing to deserve death. 16 I will therefore have him flogged and release him.”
18 Then they all shouted out together, “Away with this fellow! Release Barabbas for us!” 19 (This was a man who had been put in prison for an insurrection that had taken place in the city, and for murder.) 20 Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again; 21 but they kept shouting, “Crucify, crucify him!” 22 A third time he said to them, “Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no ground for the sentence of death; I will therefore have him flogged and then release him.” 23 But they kept urgently demanding with loud shouts that he should be crucified; and their voices prevailed. 24 So Pilate gave his verdict that their demand should be granted. 25 He released the man they asked for, the one who had been put in prison for insurrection and murder, and he handed Jesus over as they wished.
The Crucifixion of Jesus
26 As they led him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27 A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. 28 But Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the days are surely coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ 30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us’; and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ 31 For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
32 Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33 When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots to divide his clothing. 35 And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!” 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”
39 One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
The Death of Jesus
44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land[l] until three in the afternoon, 45 while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last. 47 When the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God and said, “Certainly this man was innocent.” 48 And when all the crowds who had gathered there for this spectacle saw what had taken place, they returned home, beating their breasts. 49 But all his acquaintances, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.
- Read the passage, read the questions below, then read the passage again.
- Sit for a few minutes and allow yourself to enter into the scripture.
- In many churches, the story of the passion is read as a drama with different people reading the different parts. Before we go into the text, take a moment and identify the different people. What do you know about them? Have they been part of the story all along? Why are they here? What do they say about the people around them? How might they tell the story of what happened when they get home that night? How might they tell the story next week? A year from now?
- How do you imagine Jesus might have felt in his body, mind, and spirit when he was brought before Pilate?
- Why do you think he answers Pilate the way he does?
- Can you imagine a time when you were brought before someone you considered powerful and authoritative for interrogation? What did you look like in that moment? How did you answer?
- What can we understand about this crowd? What does the shout tell you about them? What might make them so angry?
- Are there voices in your life or society that seem similar? Angry voices who are struggling to find the source of their problems? What charges or accusations are being made? Where might a person who appears powerful be powerless in the face of such a crowd?
- How do you understand Pilate's situation?
- Are there people close to you or that you know who are being accused or charged by the crowd?
- In the quiet of your own inner life where is the crowd? What is the crowd saying? Who are they accusing? What accusations do they make?