“…I was in prison, and you visited me.” Jesus doesn’t say, “I was not guilty in prison, and you came to me.” Jesus binds his flesh with the flesh of those who have no hope. Willie Trottie is left with little hope. Tonight, the State of Texas will kill Trottie by lethal injection. We love to say it like that. If we can name the State of Texas as the perpetrator, we can follow in the footsteps of Pilate and wash our hands of the crime. Who are we really killing? Whose blood is to be shed tonight? Do we have the guts to answer such questions? If you believe the words of Matthew 25:36 (NIV), the person to be strapped to the gurney is none other than Jesus.
The unfathomable love and grace of God is what binds Willie Trottie to the person of Jesus. The murders of Barbara and Titus Canada cannot keep Trottie from such grace and love. Why is this so difficult to believe? I think we want vengeance. We want blood. “Hate your enemies and kill those who persecute you.” Can you imagine if our wants were actually the message of Jesus? I actually can. I see the message of hate played out each time we demand the blood of another. I don’t see much Jesus in killing and all of us here in Texas love to kill. When will we stop? I want us all to get saved from killing.
I feel like Jesus is calling for us all to choose love, but we refuse to pick up. To assuage our consciences, we will pretend like nothing is happening. We clutch our children and give no thought to the mother in Huntsville who just clutched the glass as she watched the life drain out of her child. We will kiss those we love and not consider those who just kissed someone they love goodbye. We will glance over the news with assurance that all will glance over the crime that we just committed. In all of these actions, we will forget that we were made for each other. When will we remember?
There will be much forgetting after tonight. People will go on about their lives as if nothing ever happened and many will go to church. Pastors will offer communion in the coming days. The problem is that the communion our churches offer will not be real. For, it is impossible to have real communion when no one knows if they will be the next one killed. The God that is celebrated will be a fraud. For, how can anyone claim to believe in a God that kills because of anger and vengeance? For people who claim to follow Jesus here in Texas, we are the great pretenders.