Isaiah 52.13-53.12; Psalm 22; Hebrews 4.14-16; 5;7-9; John 18.1-19.42
+ Probably one of the holiest times during this Holy Week—and there are many, many holy moments—is the time spent on the watch, last night. Some of us stayed around to spend time in the Chapel before the Altar of Repose and the Blessed Sacrament reserved there. For me, as I spent that time there last night, trying to follow St. Alphonsus de Ligouiri’s “Clock of the Passion,” I found one word staying with me and obsessing me a bit.
In many ways, that is what this day is all about.
The Jesus we encounter today is slowly, deliberately being broken. This moment we are experiencing right now is a moment of brokenness. Brokenness, in the shadow of the cross, the nails, the thorns. Broken by the whips. Broken under the weight of the Cross. Broken by his friends, his loved ones. Broken by the thugs and the soldiers and all those who turned away from him and betrayed him.
In this dark moment, our own brokenness seems more profound, more real, as well. We can feel this brokenness now in a way we never have before. Our brokenness is shown back to us like the reflection in a dark mirror as we look upon that broken Body on the cross.
This morning, after the tiredness and emotional exhaustion of last night, I came across this great posting on Facebook by Bishop Steven Charleston:
“There are few people of faith who have not crossed through that dark day when they wondered if the God on whom they depended had gone away, deserted them, or even died. In the pain of our own mortality, when we face the loss of those for whom we care, when illness strikes us down or injustice overwhelms us, it is not hard to understand why we have felt this way. To receive the light, we must accept the darkness. We must go into the tomb of all that haunts us, even the loss of faith itself, to discover a truth older than death.”
Yes, we have known brokenness in our lives. We have known those moments of loss and abandonment. We have known those moments in which we have been betrayed. We have known those moments when we have lost someone we have cared for so much, either through death or a broken relationship. We have known those moments of darkness in which we cannot even imagine the light.
This present despair will be turned completely around. This present darkness will be vanquished. This present pain will be replaced with a comfort that brings about peace. This present brokenness will be healed fully and completely, leaving not even a scar.
In a few hours our brokenness will be made whole. And will know there is no real defeat, ultimately. Ultimately there will be victory. Victory over everything we are feeling sadness over at this moment. Victory over the pain, and brokenness, and loss, and death we are commemorating
This is what today is about. This is what our journey in following Jesus brings to us. All we need to do is go where the journey leads us. All we need to do is follow Jesus, yes, even through this broken moment. And, in following, we will know joy—even a joy that, for this moment, seems far off.