(Image found at Culture24.)
Just before Christmas in 2008, St. John’s Church in Broadbridge Heath, England took down its 10ft crucifix after numerous parishioners complained that it frightened children. The crucifix, shown above, shows an emaciated Jesus hanging on the cross with a look of horror and despair on His face. The BBC asked two different clergymen whether or not the church should have removed the crucifix. One of the two men, Rev. John Caperon, said that one of the things that makes the image of Jesus on the cross so powerful is that it tell us God is present in our suffering. God suffers with us. And it's this whole idea of a God who isn't foreign to human suffering that has kept me the least bit sane over the past few days.
You see, a few days ago I ended my six-year relationship with Amanda.
Out of respect for both Amanda and her family, I won't discuss the details. But I will say that any suffering I experienced in the past cannot compare to the pain I feel right now. It's a pain that starts in the heart and shoots out like lightening throughout my body until even the tips of my fingers ache. Whenever I try to express my pain, all I can do is groan in agony. I feel like I have to wear sackcloth and put ashes on my forehead for penance. If Hell exists, then this must be a foretaste of what's waiting for me.
The other night as I was drifting off to sleep, I heard myself cry out loud, "My God! My God! Why have You forsaken me?"
I hope no one takes this as blasphemy, but this is closest I'll ever come to understanding what Jesus must have felt on the cross. There He hung, humiliated and rejected. His body nearly broken into pieces. His blood pouring out on the ground. His tongue, thick and swollen from thirst. Jesus, though, was innocent. I'm getting what I deserve.
This morning I went to church expecting the roof to collapse on me. Surprisingly it didn't. In fact, the service actually reminded me that God forgives me. Jesus suffered the shame and guilt of my sin in my place. I can't understand how such a holy God can forgive a screw-up like me, but apparently that's how God works. No matter how badly we fuck up, God is ready to give us all a second chance.
Even though I don't feel like it right now, maybe I'm going to be okay after all.
1 month ago