[Rector]

The blame game

 

The coroner summed up his findings. They were totally unexpected and quite unacceptable to the gathered crowd. The anger that grew out of his conclusions ended up spilling out into the National News.

A child had been knocked down walking across a busy road. The mother was beside herself. Someone was to blame. The bus came early: the driver was to blame, the school and the bus company. The road was busy: the Council was to blame, the Department of Main Roads and the Government. The driver of the car was to blame. The Judge concluded that the mother was to blame - lack of parental supervision. She could not accept this decision; she could not live with it.

A whole family, washed from the rocks beside the sea. The father was beside himself. He had tried to save them and was nearly drowned himself. Who was to blame, where could responsibility be laid? Locals took up his cry, along with media commentators. The Council was to blame - the rocks should have been fenced, notices of the danger should have been there in English and foreign languages. The bystanders were to blame - they stood there and watched, they didn't save the man's family.

Someone must be to blame. It's an interesting notion, isn't it? For same strange reason, when things go wrong, we have to find a scapegoat, someone or something on which to pour out our anger and grief.

A funeral director told me recently that quite often he gets the blame for the most absurd things. They didn't carry the coffin properly, they didn't drive slow enough; they didn't enter the house with dignity.... and so on. Of course, they understand they are simply the butt of someone's grief. They understand and accept it as part of their job. Hurting people need someone to blame.

As we all know very well, the church sometimes gets the blame. We failed to visit the person and show care. Even worse, God often gets the blame. He tends to get it when there's no one to point the finger at. It's as though he should have done something about it.

Yet actually, God has done something about it. Not that fault should ever be found with the rough edges of life. Living is a health hazard, so where is the blame when life's inherent danger touches us? None-the-less, God does not stand idly by. Jesus has taken the curse of broken humanity upon himself and became the firstborn of a new creation. He cared enough to die, and his care gives us eternal life. Not only does God put up the warning notice, he dives in to save us.