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The speech of seeds*

By Laura Ann Phillips

It peeks out every time residents chant behind placards, burning appliances and tyres. Or, a disgruntled worker posts and shares an executive’s tumble at the company sports day.

It is the language of the resentful, the silenced – hushed before they speak.

Who attend meetings and consultations, making time to speak to the people in charge. Public, private, sometimes, religious authorities; who look like they’re listening, but bear the “done deal” in mind.

It was the language of the mixed crowd at a viewing of “Death Wish” starring Bruce Willis, directed by Eli Roth – a remake of the 70s pulp-action pentalogy that starred Charles Bronson.

In the current incarnation, an apathetic middle-class doctor turns vigilante, after a home invasion leaves his wife dead and daughter seriously injured.

With the anti-gun lobby gaining more momentum in the US following the February 14 Parkland shooting, and T&T drowning in bloodshed with the Non-Violence movement still picking up steam, the movie does, indeed, appear ill-timed.

It is also disturbing that a banal rehash featuring transparent movie tools to elicit audience howls and cheers, really does elicit howls and cheers. 

Disturbing, because people seemed prepared to overlook the textbook gore and hail this man as a hero, simply because he does what those in authority don’t appear to do – fight for us.

Not with a gun. We tend to prefer clean water, wages paid. Safe schools for our children, discipline for the naughty.

So, it’s hard to watch a silent, battered Christ.

Not silenced, but choosing to be.

Until He chooses to speak to a man of blood, who did not expect that Voice.

Christ, who chooses to speak, when His actions would be louder.

Having the power to deliver His people from Rome’s iron hand. Level the fortress and every soldier crouching in it. Slay Herod and his minions, even the Emperor himself! Tumble the rich, elevate the poor.

But, no. He stands.


And speaks only to Pilate – this lost son of His. Who still struggles to understand the thing that lurks just outside his grasp.

Maybe Christ came for Pilate that day, gave him a chance to reflect.

Recall the days when, maybe, he used to believe in truth. When he was young, still human, before brutality stained his blood.

Until, this Criminal – composed, majestic – disturbed him to depths long forgot. Who would not speak to His own people; just him, a foreigner, whom His people despised.

Why not Him?  

Better to bury this Voice, as his was buried long ago.

“Let Him be crucified.”

Yes, take Him and go!

But the sign shouts the Truth of the One who hung beneath it: “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.”

Bury Him, deep. Deeper than memory.

I often hope he found it, this man of blood. Who clearly lost his truth, whom Truth came to find, spoke plain, Face to face.

For, Pilate didn’t know what we Christians know, what Dino Christianopoulos wrote:

“They buried us. They didn’t know we were seeds.”

“Rotten Tomatoes” critic and audience reviews: