“In my deepest wound I saw your glory and it dazzled me.” ~ St. Augustine
When The Passion of the Christ came out several years ago, many movie goers were aghast at the violence portrayed. The critics wrote about the inordinate amount of blood and gore. They commented about the scenes of Christ’s scourging and the depiction of flesh being ripped from Jesus’ body by the torturer’s implements. Yet, what would you say? That wasn’t true? Christ did not suffer? He was not tortured?
There are a few cultures that truly focus upon the passion and death of Jesus Christ. These cultures even have extremely gory looking crucifixes. Jesus is a tattered mess hanging on the cross. As you look at Him on the cross or look at statues of Christ standing post-flogging, you can be moved to tears. “Surely it wasn’t that bad, was it?”, one almost wants to proclaim.
The vast amount of Christendom has done much to sanitize images of Christ’s suffering and death. If you look at the majority of crucifixes, you will see a corpus hanging on the cross, nails barely identifiable piercing Jesus hands and feet, a crown of thorns delicately placed upon His head, and just a hint of blood, sometimes not more than a few drops, coming out of an almost closed wound in His side.
That image cannot be farther from the truth. Jesus, after all, was given to a professional to be tortured, pure and simple. He would have been a bloodied mess, a barely recognizable human being, by the time they made Him walk to Calvary. Yet we, in our human guilt, cannot face the true depiction of what was done to Him since we would have to admit that our sins were part of what put Him through what He had to endure.
Lent challenges us, as best as we can, to examine the darkest areas of our lives, the areas that most need the light of Christ, and then ask God to come in to our lives and scatter the vestiges of darkness, sin, and death
FAITH ACTION: Reflect upon Christ’s passion and death today, remembering that He suffered everything that He did for you.