Here we have skipped over to John's gospel to close out Pentecost. This story of a conversation between Jesus and Pilate is not recorded in Mark. Pilate is looking for some way to reconcile, justify within himself what is going to happen to Jesus. Is he really a king? Because if he is it makes Pilates job a whole lot easier because Jesus is a traitor to the state of Rome, deserving death.
In John we get the whole dream that Pilates wife has. She believes Jesus is innocent of the charges brought against him and begs Pilate to do nothing. This is where we are caught in today. Pilate wants to ease his conscious. Be reconciled to what he is going to do and Jesus doesn't make this easy for him until his claim that his kingdom is not of this world.
Reconciliation is not an easy thing. Pilate is beginning a struggle with that, one to put his mind at rest. The Roman belief in dreams was known to the writer of John and so we struggle with Jesus' putting Jesus to death. The thing about this exchange is Pilate latches onto Jesus' claim of his kingdom not being of this world. Then Pilate says, asks if he is claiming kingship in order to ease his mind, instead Jesus tells him Pilate is the one making the claim he is king, not Jesus. Finally Pilate admits defeat, orders home crucified and washes his hands of the verdict because he has not struggled fully with being reconciled.
As we look at our world now we have so many choices. We can be like Pilate and wash our hands of the whole affair. Calling our claims to protection and not accepting refugees as justified. Reconciliation means opening our arms wide and welcoming in the orphan, the widow, the stranger. It means being vulnerable. Reconciling means we may be hurt because we choose to drop out barriers and welcome what is to come.
Jesus is doing this in John's gospel. There is no defense, his kingdom is not of this world, he embraces the cross with his arms wide open to be vulnerable for us. To reconcile the world to himself. We have this opportunity before us today.
Do we close ourselves off to the healing power of standing in those places where we are most vulnerable, or do we close it off? Do we believe more in the kingdoms of this world or do we believe in Gods kingdom? Have we taken time to be venerable and pray at the foot of the cross?
We are the church, we should be the example of reconciliation in the world. Have we even struggled with our own stories of reconciliation? Do we realize we have been drawn to the foot of the cross like Mary and John to be carers if one another, a son and a mother? Can we be the examples of Gods reconciling power or will we choose to just wash our hands?
Reconciliation means struggle, it is in the Kings last words today in Samuel, it is in the words of Revelation that tell us God is the Alpha and Omega, it is an opportunity in today's gospel that Pilate doesn't take and Jesus does. It is something we should be as the church, which is that light on the hill for all to see. Do we dare to do the hard work of being vulnerable, of discovering the hope of what lays buried, and walk together as sisters, brothers, mothers, children, all a part of Gods family no matter where we come from.