This is a phrase made popular by the many courtroom dramas available through film and television today. It usually occurs when a lawyer, be it for the defense or the prosecution, wishes to emphasize a particularly important detail for the jury or judge. It’s also a little phrase that has been with me as my Lenten journey has progressed. What will my record show? How has my life reflected my participation in God's realm in the here and now? Let the record show...
At the same time, I wonder how God considers “Let the record show.”
It seems to me that, given the gospel accounts of Jesus' attitude of forgiveness and reconciliation towards those whose records did not show much, if anything, favourably, he did not seem overly concerned about what the record showed - even as he sometimes summarizes a rather poor record (the woman at the well comes to mind; John 4:4-26). And given that Easter is barely a week away as I write this I have been wondering if there is something found on Easter morn that once and for all changes things concerning what the record will show about us.
The evidence from the resurrection points to God overlooking what the record shows though not from the point of view of Jesus' life. Nor from the point of view of what perennially troubles us when confronted with the truth that we killed the one whose sublime intimacy with God still mystifies us to this day. And by implication how we inevitably betray ourselves and embrace regrettable modes of living which facilitate our own death - perhaps the conundrum which weighs most heavily on our hearts. Thankfully the promise which Easter brings to humanity responds to what has troubled the human heart, galvanized our fears, and still motivates with so much that is ultimately self destructive. Our behavioural patterns must be re-examined, especially if what we have held dear in Christianity has been so preoccupied with, "Let the record show."
It was the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams’ thinking which first stirred this idea within me: Jesus returns to the place of his traumatic humiliation, torture and death - Jerusalem. Surely, Jesus does not "Let the record show," in his response. Indeed, Jesus foregoes the record of humanity’s harrowing treatment during his passion. The post resurrection Jesus enables humanity's ability to forge a new path in life. Jesus overlooks the treatment which led to his death, and no longer holds onto it. He returns to the scene of the crime – Jerusalem - not with a warrant for our arrest but with a get out of jail free card for all of humanity.
Let the record show that despite how we robbed Jesus of his life, God's life is not taken from us.
The new life God offers us through the Easter moment, through our encounter and relationship with the Divine life, will not end because our “record shows," or because death is the final, insuperable barrier. Both of these human perceptions are drawn into the light of God's life and realigned into a new relationship – a relationship with the reconciling “God with us.” Easter is the ultimate reconnection to God's freely offered life; a limitless opportunity to be with God no matter what the record shows, if we respond to God's call to accept it, no matter the hour!
The Easter promise is that we will be unbound from our lamentable choices, just as death did not bind Jesus in the tomb. God's love is not fettered by what we did to him and nor will it be restrained by what we do to ourselves, or to others, as we earnestly struggle to embody God's realm of abundant life. This is the wonder, the glory if you will, of Easter. It truly is what awaits us as we do our best to embrace Jesus’ call to the resurrected life available to us through his example of unfathomable love and limitless reconciliation, no matter what the record shows!
Alleluia! Alleluia!! Alleluia!!!
I wish you a joyous and glorious Easter.