As a good Southern girl, I was occasionally admonished for being “ugly” which meant my actions were unattractive and unladylike. Ugly behavior included sassing, whining, and gossipping.
On this Holiest of Weeks, we recall that a humble and just man – sent by God to show us what love looks like – was brutally tortured because he stood up to worldly powers and privilege. It was ugly in a way that made unladylike “ugliness” look ridiculously tame.
It was over the top – even for the Roman authorities – to torture and execute someone who had not committed murder, rape, or grand larceny. He had not caused bodily harm to anyone. But, he had calmly challenged the political and religious leaders of the day. And they crucified him for it.
Ugly behavior can ratchet up to monstrous behavior in no time. We are observing such behavior in our beloved nation today:
- If we have to photoshop false images to make our point, we have stooped to ugly/monstrous behavior.
- If we have to deface and threaten people with whom we disagree, we have stooped . . .
- If we have to threaten someone to get our way, we’ve stooped . . .
The world in which we live can be true, noble, just, pure, lovely, and “of good report.” But more often it seems to be deceptive, ignoble, unjust, dirty, ugly, and unworthy of praise. The first Holy Week was such a time.
Nevertheless I believe that good will triumph. Not to get too far ahead of myself, but . . . Easter. And before we get all Scarlett O’Hara together, keep in mind that Jesus was crucified because he stood up to evil.
We are called to do that too.
Image is Philippians 4:8 with a personal reminder.