Sunday, September 30, 2012

Death Sentence

This summer there was a trial.
It involved a conniving man who had committed murder and a high school girl who had stolen medicine to keep her dying sister alive. The campers were the jury.

It was a simulation of a trial that we put on every Monday night at camp. It gave the campers a chance to decide for themselves who was guilty and who was innocent.

I acted the part of the girl on trial. Every week I gave my testimony to hundreds of campers and let them decide my fate. Every week, while there were a few groups that proclaimed my innocence, the majority condemned me. While I was a good person, I had still broken the law. While I was going to church, sacrificially giving my money to people in need, breaking the law only because I was desperate to keep my sister alive and in the spur of the moment, when I didn't have the money, I took the medication and ran...I was still guilty.

The other guy on trial, one of the guys I worked with, was a jerk. He was clearly guilty and clearly an idiot (especially when he attempted Aussie accents). He was a murderer- there wasn't ever a question in any camper's mind.

We both stood on stage, waiting to hear the camper's verdict. This was the point during the night where I would try to muster up tears. Oftentimes, the large fan overhead in the pavilion would hit my eyes at just the right angle and cause my eyes to tear up a little. This helped, but it wasn't yet believable that I was a high school girl in terrible distress. Groups would trickle back in and hand their verdicts in. There was always laughter, pointing, casual discussion and, usually, a jeer or a comment in our direction about how guilty we were.

While, yes, the trial was fake and everyone in the room knew it, I couldn't help but think that it wouldn't be much different if it was real. I remember being astonished at how quickly these campers were to judge us, to decide our fate...based on only a few facts. I remember being thrown off by the cruelty of their words and the disapproval in their eyes.

Ashamed I hear my mocking voice, call out among the scoffers...

These words would run through my mind every time at this point in the evening. I wasn't any different from these campers. I felt like I had caught a glimpse of what it was like to be Jesus on trial. Only He had done nothing wrong. In the crowd there was accusation, judgment, scorn, ridicule...and I can't help but think my voice would have been one of them.

The tears flowed easily at this point. For as much as I felt the scorn of others from some silly simulation, I knew it was only a taste of what Christ had endured for me...for us.

The verdict was in. We were always guilty. *applause, cheering*
The punishment? Death.

For the murderer, this sentence was met with more applause and cheering. When my sentence was read, there was often a shout of disapproval. I was dragged off stage, weeping and begging for my life.

The whole idea was to paint a picture for these campers that no matter how good we are and no matter how bad we are, we are all deserving of death...we are all sinners.  It's only because of the blood of Jesus Christ that our sins have been atoned for. It's only through grace that we have been saved.

I think I forget this sometimes.
I think I forget my depravity and my absolute need for Jesus.
I think I forget that no matter how good I am, no matter how bad I am... Jesus still takes me back.
I think I forget that there's nothing I can do to earn salvation.
I think I forget that it's already been done.

This must matter above all else.
There can't be anything else that gets in the way.
The gospel must be the centrality from which everything flows.

It's time we start living that way.

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1 comment:

  1. WHOA. This has been on my mind a ton this past week!