Daily Reading for April 20 • Wednesday in Holy Week

At supper with his friends, Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, “Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.”

I scanned the headlines early this morning. A familiar name caught my eye: Duluth doesn’t make the New York Times much. And certainly not for this reason: There was a mob lynching of three black men there in 1920. . . .

I remember asking my mother in the 1960s about racial prejudice in Minnesota when she was growing up. She didn’t remember any. We didn’t really have any Negroes there, she said. Well, I guess they had three. And then they had three fewer.

She was five when the lynching happened. Ten thousand people came out to see it. Men had broken into the city jail and hauled the three out. Men? My grandfather was a man and he lived in Duluth. Was he there? Did he go? Did my grandmother go, and did they watch? Did they take my mother? We didn’t really have any Negroes there.. . .

My kind forebears. My good family. That good city, full of good people. Ordinary people. Impossible. But anything is possible for ordinary people. Any goodness, and any evil. They can allow themselves to be led either way. They can visit the church and the killing fields on the same day. They tell themselves that it is their leaders who take them astray, but they are the ones who raise up the leaders, and they are the ones who follow them.

So who killed Christ? Ordinary people. Like you and me. It is not enough to bemoan this evil age. I do not control this age. But I do control myself. Start there.

From Let Us Bless the Lord, Year One: Meditations on the Daily Office, Vol. 1, Advent through Holy Week by Barbara Cawthorne Crafton. Copyright © 2004. Used by permission of Morehouse Publishing, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

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