Crime & Punishment

I live in the city of St. Paul but have never been drawn much toward the man. This guy named Saul. I was still piecing together fragments. In this Pauline year.

“Give us Barabbas.” How were people changed?

“Give us Barabbas.” Saul. Young men like him, up all night who partook in the crucifixion. People like Saul. After political rebels suffered all those crucifixions at the hands of the Romans, finally the Jewish hierarchy got to crucify one of their own. It was not an anti-semitic thing. It was all about dogma. Here was a religious rebel. Ah, when politics and religion collide.

“Give us Barabbas.” I have spent time in the state pen in South Dakota. I was allowed in to play softball. I preached the importance of hitting the cutoff man. That day I was the cutoff man. A guy asked me for help when he got out. Then I found out what he had done. He WAS the cutoff man. I told him all I could do was preach the importance of hitting the cutoff man.

“Give us Barabbas.” Those 2 million black men in jail. What had they done? Why the disproportionate number? What was wrong with the system? Society? What was legal? Why did people commit crimes? And even on those who had not, in American society, what of those women who had abortions and the docs who had performed them. They were legal. Sixty years ago they would not have been. Fifty million abortions. If abortion ever becomes illegal again, the question was how to punish. No one had an answer. Not in Washington, not in Rome.

“Give us Barabbas.” About this punishment thing. The arrogance of politics and religion in the foreground of Good Friday. Piecing together fragments. In this Pauline year. The arrogance of the human species, determining punishment. Crime and punishment. Determining crime. How this all became alive. All creation. In 2009.

“Give us Barabbas.” Piecing together fragments. Work. The burden of work that destroys us. Day by day. By those who had no understanding. What was that Genesis quote about crawling like a serpent on this earth. To be made humble. In search of food. Jesus destroyed by his work as it were, by his mission. By those who had no understanding.

“Give us Barabbas.” Crime and punishment. How to change things. How to change people. The method of punishment? With capital punishment? With a crucifixion?

“Give us Barabbas.” Crime and punishment. Piecing together fragments. In my world. In the city of St. Paul. By those who had no understanding.

“Give us Barabbas.” How was I doing learning piety? How was I doing teaching piety? How to change people? Over time? With age. By example. To overcome crawling like a serpent on this earth? Only in death. When there no longer was a need for a search for food. Could only God teach piety? With a shocking crucifixion?

Crime and punishment.

Listen to the composer of the above liturgical music.


1 comment so far

  1. paperlessworld on

    Concerned with discovering the true meaning of the text, respecting its grammar, syntax, and the setting, with the theme of disappearance, there is The Omnificent. The modern-day name of the mountainous southern part of Canaan-Israel is Judea, the Greek and Roman adaptation of the name “Judah.” With this geographical framework dividing the north and the south, that northern province of Galilee, separated from Judea by the non-Jewish territory of Samaria, was decisively distinct–in history, political status, and culture–from the southern province of Judah. The natives of Judah despised their northern neighbors as country cousins for their lack of Jewish sophistication being compounded by their greater openness to Hellenistic influence. Like an Irishman in London, Galileans spoke a distinctive form of Aramaic whose slovenly consonants were the butt of Judean humor. Religiously the opinion in Judah was that Galileans were lax in their observance of proper ritual, exacerbated by the distance of Galilee from the Temple and theological leadership which was focused in Jerusalem.

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