Wednesday, April 12, 2006

'...suffered under Pontius Pilate'

Excerpt from David Cunningham's Reading is Believing on the fourth article of the Apostles' Creed (p. 83).

"The Biblical texts tells us that Jeus suffered from hunger (Matt. 4:2), from loneliness (Matt. 26:40), from frustration (Mark 8:21), from anger (Mark 3:5), and from a feeling of abandonment (Mark 15:34).

The writers of the creed could also have emphasized his sufferings under the religious authorities of his day, or at the hands of his compatriots. But by focusing on Pilate (and therefore on the Empire), the creed draws our attention to the temporal power structures that seek to dominate our lives.

These structures may be political, economic, familial, or cultural; they may draw their strength from illegitimate appeals to difference in race, gender, and other biological realities; and they may achieve their dominance through violent coercion, subtle suggestion, or the incitement of mass panic.

Of course human suffering is not limited to these particular forms, but neither should we forget that much of our suffering results from structures that are put in place by human beings.

The creed emphasizes that Jesus suffered under some of the same forms of domination that we suffer under today."

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