The Masters’ golf tournament is in the news this morning, and not just because Lee Westwood shot a great opening round yesterday to lead the field. IBM is a top sponsor of the Masters. Augusta National, the club that hosts the tournament each year, has admitted several IBM CEOs over the years. But the new chief executive of IBM is Virginia Rometty. The club has never admitted a female member. Both President Obama and Mitt Romney say that women ought to be members at Augusta. What will the club do? What should it do?
While the Masters holds onto tradition, the Jewish Passover may never be the same. Tomorrow, Rabbi Laura Baum will lead a Passover Seder that Moses could never have imagined. Her Seder will be conducted in cyberspace at OurJewishCommunity.org. According to today’s Wall Street Journal, guests from New York to New Zealand are expected to join. There’s just one problem: Orthodox Jews are prohibited from using electronic devices during the Seder or Sabbath, so they won’t be watching. For them, tradition trumps technology.
But it should never trump truth. Yesterday I read Andy Andrew’s How Do You Kill 11 Million People? Adolf Hitler killed 11,283,000 people between 1933 and 1945. That figure does not include 5,200,000 German civilian and military war dead, or the 28,736,000 Europeans killed during World War II as a result of Hitler’s policies. How was Hitler able to kill so many? By lying to them.
His soldiers convinced Jewish victims that they were being transported in railroad cars to safer locations. He convinced German citizens that he would restore their nation’s fortunes after the ravages of World War I. He persuaded Western leaders that he was no threat to their sovereignty and safety. (He was Time‘s “Man of the Year” for 1938.) His motto: “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.” In Mein Kampf, his autobiography, he wrote: “The great masses of the people will more easily fall victim to a big lie than a small one.”
Jesus died on this day because the leaders of his nation lied. They lied to each other about what he said and who he was (Matthew 26:59-61). Then they lied to Pilate in accusing him of sedition (Luke 23:2). But he didn’t die as a result of their lies–he chose to die so their lies could be forgiven. And so your last sin–and your next–could be pardoned by Almighty God.
Is Good Friday merely an annual tradition for you, or is it a daily truth? Will you put its somber reflection behind you once this day is done, or will you live the rest of the year in the shadow of the cross? William Penn was right: “No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown.” How grateful are you today for your suffering Savior? How obedient will you be next week to your risen King? The questions are the same.