It’s certainly been a field day for choosing and choice over the last couple of weeks. The General Election, and now the choosing of new leaders. Last week, the Christian Church was thinking about the choice of Matthias to replace Judas as one of the Apostles. We need to remember that Jesus chose Judas Iscariot too. And, contrary to some of the early Church’s interpretation, it wasn’t just a matter of fulfilling prophecy. Jesus believed in him – he saw in Judas the image of God and wanted him to follow. Sadly, it became too easy for the early Church, as it can be for Christians today, to pour upon Judas their own guilt and betrayal.
Sadly, we live in a culture of blame. When anything goes wrong we have to find someone or something to blame. “I blame the teachers, I blame their parents, I blame the Prime Minister, I blame the NHS, I blame the EU, I blame the Archbishop of Canterbury! I blame God…” There is no doubt that in the eyes of the world to show mercy is the soft option and is loudly opposed by the “prison’s too good for the likes of them; he deserves all he gets” mentality.
The desire to show mercy to the merciless and love to the loveless, far from being the soft option, is the most costly course of action that humanity can take. For it is God’s way of dealing with these things; from the Cross, that merciless place, comes the cry of mercy. There is the God who blames no one. There is the God who takes all blame upon himself.
The Revd Canon Neil Heavisides, Precentor Gloucester Cathedral