Last Palm Sunday my friend Ann went to church and found herself in the middle of a mob scene. As it turned out, the congregation was taking part in a dramatic reading of the Passion narrative. The assembled worshipers were cast as members of a violent, bloodthirsty crowd that was excited at the prospect of a crucifixion and caught up in emotional hysteria.
At a horrifying moment in the drama, the actor playing Pilate asked, “What should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” The crowd-congregation began to shout, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Ann was caught up in the emotion of the moment, but not in the crowd’s emotion. Instead, she found herself outraged by the chant. Her impulse was not to follow the scripted “Crucify him!” but to scream instead, “No! Don’t crucify him! No!”