Daily Office Readings for Monday of Proper 12: Year 2
“So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.’ Then the people as a whole answered, ‘His blood be on us and on our children!’ So he released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.” (Matthew 27: 24 – 26)
So Pilate washed his hands, but his heart was still filthy. He had our Lord Jesus beaten before being handed over to be crucified. However, a literal interpretation of this translation implies that Pilate himself whipped Jesus. Most readers would assume that Pilate had his soldiers do the dirty work. But in any case, Pilate re-soiled his “baptized” hands.
Yesderday I watched the news about the final crossing of the Edmund Pettus bridge by the deceased U. S. Representative John Lewis in a horse drawn caisson in Selma, Alabama. He was saluted by, the new generation of Alabama State Troopers. He was beaten and arrested by the 1965 Alabama State Troopers 55 years ago on that same bridge. Dirty hearts make dirty hands. But clean hearts and clean hands saluted him yesterday. This is not my Grandfather’s Alabama.
So often we all must look back on the misdirection of those who went before us and ponder anew the right thing to do. John Lewis’ blood be on the hands of Alabama State Troopers until they too washed, “Baptized,” their hands for an honorable salute to the same man on the same bridge.
Today we remember William Reed Huntington, Priest (27 July 1909)
Huntington is remembered for his efforts to recognize Deaconesses as an important part of Christian ministry. He is also remembered among Episcopalians as a devoted member of General Convention in the House of Deputies from 1870 to his death in 1909. We still carry his notable prayer for Fridays in Morning Prayer which reads: “Almighty God, whose dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” This prayer is so fitting also for John Lewis who walked the way of the cross, to include beatings and arrests.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John