It wasn’t clear when Pilate asked that question more than two thousand years ago. It’s even less easy to answer it today when we can all have our own ‘truth’ if we wish. We’ve seen for a long time how feelings trump facts. This can make for confusion and in some cases lead to roaring farce. More worryingly, it has lead to people losing their jobs, Jordan Peterson for one, because what they might say could offend the feelings of people who believe a different truth.
The trouble with believing ‘my’ truth is that sooner or later I will come up with people who are convinced by a different truth and then all hell can break lose.
The Duchess of Sussex illustrated this beautifully during her interview with Oprah Winfrey. She told Oprah she and Harry had been married three days before the official wedding, by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
She wasn’t lying. That was ‘her’ truth and she sincerely believed it. She is a shy, private person and she couldn’t bear the thought of exchanging her marriage vows in front of millions throughout the world on TV. So she asked Archbishop Welby if she and Harry could have a private ceremony, in the garden of their home, away from even the prying eyes of the staff.
The trouble was, that statement, like the official wedding, was made in front of a global audience. Many of the people watching knew that, at the very simplest, an Anglican wedding needs five people — the couple, the priest and two witnesses. The witnesses can be anyone, unknown but willing people passing in the street, but they must be in attendance, to sign the register and legalise the ceremony. Oh, and it has to be on licensedpremises!
The statement wasn’t really a lie; she just mis-spoke. That is bound to happen often when ‘my’ truth gets muddled up with ‘your’ truth. The important thing is that Meghan and Harry were legally married in a sacred place by a properly ordained minister before two witnesses, the bride’s mother and the Prince of Wales.
Pilate would probably have been perfectly satisfied with that outcome. No need for any hand washing.
Tomorrow is Good Friday. Many Christians will spend at least an hour in church, meditating, reflecting and praying. That will be a golden opportunity to ponder on how closely our own truths correspond with God’s eternal truths.
Have a very happy Easter.