March 25, 2016
+ The one word that has been with me these last few days has been a word most of us know well in our lives. Brokenness. 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. We have all wondered at times in our lives if God, who once was such a source of joy and gladness to us, had turned away from us. We have all known what the anguish of losing someone love feels like, whether we lost that person to death, or to a change of feelings, or simply due to desertion.
Some of us have known that fear that comes when we are faced with our mortality in the face of illness, and we think there will never be a time when we will never be well again. This dark place is a terrible place to be. But as Bishop Charles Stevenson once wrote:
“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.
But, for as followers of Jesus, we know there is light. Even today, we know it is there, just beyond our grasp. We know that what seems like a bleak, black moment will be replaced by the blinding Light of the Resurrection.
What seems like a moment of unrelenting despair will soon be replaced by an unleashing of unrestrained joy. 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 short time (though it might not seem like it) 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. Because if we do, we will, like him, be raised by God out of this broken place. The God in whom we, like Jesus, trust, will reach out to us, even here, in this place, on this bleak day, and will raise us up.
Following Jesus, means following him, even to this place. But, we, who have trusted in him, will soon realize this is, most definitely, not the end of the story. Not by any means. We will, in our following of him, know in a short time joy—even a joy that, for this moment, seems far off.