The Absurdity of The Passion
As I take a step back and observe the narrative of the Passion, I am struck by the absurdity of it all. The same crowd that welcomes Jesus into Jerusalem with praise and palm branches cries for his crucifixion before the week is finished. Jesus’ closest friends and followers betray, abandon, and reject him. The sinless is crucified with the sinners.
If I’m honest, I can never follow the events of the Passion without holding out some semblance of hope that things will turn out differently. I am aware that Jesus will be crucified, but it never seems possible to reconcile the adoring crowd on Palm Sunday with the vengeful mob on Friday. How is it possible for events to deteriorate so quickly?
This is precisely the point at which the Passion is so powerful: it exposes the dissonance of our dark world. On Good Friday, we find ourselves in an all-too-familiar position: laying in the ashes, surrounded by death, wondering where it all went wrong.
Our Absurd Condition
Albert Camus claimed that human experience is characterized by absurdity. According to Camus, this absurdity does not simply reside in hopelessness alone, but in the juxtaposition between the need for value and the prevalence of degradation: “The absurd is born of this confrontation between the human need and the unreasonable silence of the world.” The absurd is found in the tension between humanity’s desire for hope and the prevalence of despair.
In a way, Camus echoes the themes of the Passion, which acknowledges the absurdity of our conflicting realities. Life and death. Beauty and monstrosity. Cruelty and compassion. This is the absurdity of existence.
Yet in the Passion, the absurdity of the world is met with the absurdity of Christ, as he lays down his life for those who are taking it.
Waiting in the Dark
As we observe Passion week, we acknowledge the absurdity of our dark world: Dignity is overshadowed by degradation. Freedom is snuffed out by oppression. The Creator is murdered by creation.
And it is precisely this darkness that highlights the absurdity of God’s love: Paradise is promised to sinners. Aggression is met with kindness. Christ prays for his own torturers.
Then there is silence.
So we sit in the darkness of these disturbing events, recognizing that the same cruelty that crucified Jesus continues to pollute our world. And as we do so, we look to Christ, who embodies the divine madness of love.
May we be beacons of this divine madness as we eagerly anticipate our Easter Sunday.