Growing up in a Baptist Church and then evangelical Anglican churches, I got used to spending Good Friday singing ‘songs of victory’ that conflated crucifixion with resurrection. It wasn’t until mid-adulthood that I realised what a mistake this was and how indicative it was of dodgy theology, a dodgy reading of the Bible and a basic inability to wait.

The Christian community is supposed to ‘live’ Good Friday, leaving a service with the tragedy of emptiness, hopelessness and death. The world has fallen apart – and so has our worldview, shaped by Jesus of Nazareth and then left bleeding in the dust, a mockery of all Jesus promised. We are then supposed to live through the sheer emptiness of Saturday, not knowing that resurrection is coming, simply living with the shattered emptiness and fear of loss.

passion-playOn Easter Day it is traditional for the service to begin with the vicar proclaiming: ‘Alleluia, Christ is risen!’ The congregation responds: ‘He is risen indeed. Alleluia!’ I think this might be a bit wrong. If we are faithful to the Gospels, the congregation should really respond to the proclamation of resurrection: ‘ What?! Don’t be so ridiculous!’ Why? Because the disciples of Jesus did not respond to his resurrection with unbridled joy, but rather with bewilderment and suspicion and doubt.

Maybe we ought to re-live that before we draw our conclusions and begin to walk the road to Emmaus – talking through our confusions and laying the ground for having the ‘story’ re-configured/re-told by the Jesus who comes up to us from behind, walks alongside us and ask us questions (rather than starting with the answers).

Trinity, Wall Street, New York, is twittering the Passion Play. The full script is worth a look – it brings a fresh perspective whether you like the outcome or not.