23 Mar 2012

X Station: Jesus is stripped of his garments

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
For by your holy cross you have redeemed the world

From the Gospel according to Matthew. (27:33-36)
And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull), they offered him wine to drink, mingled with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots; then they sat down and kept watch over him there.
Jesus is stripped, abused, and his clothes given away as he is now considered a ‘dead man walking’. There is no need here for politeness, for respect – in the eyes of those who are charged with his care, he is no longer their equal, no longer human. He is judged, decided upon, dismissed and ignored.
Why do we stop before such a bare and painful image? Why is this stage in Jesus’ passion marked and noted and prayed before? Surely we are not honuring shame, noting disrespect, praying before dismissal?
All scripture teaches us, informs us and blesses us. Therefore, this is not simply a moment of remembrance, but a learning moment. Stop and notice what is happening and how God is teaching us in this moment.

This painting by the German priest Sieger Koder is hepful to our reflection. See here Jesus’ garment, woven as one piece, held by people who all consider it sacred and carry it with honour and pride. Jesus is nearby but they miss him in their rush to the relic. Notice how the eagernes to possess might lead to the ripping of the robe woven as one piece – and that is not how it was created to be.
How often have we Christians been more interested in the outer garments of Christianity, than in the Lord himself present in our midst? We are sorry for our pettiness Lord, teach us to look more for you.
How often has our in-fighting about who gets what, distracted us from Jesus Christ presence and love? We recommitt to being one, as you have called us to be one.
Have we judged, dismissed, or stripped Jesus bare in our thoughts, words & deeds? What we do to the least of these my brothers and sister, this we do to Jesus. Open our eyes Lord to where we have disrespected or ignored you, so that we might start again, in your love.
Jesus – Renew my eyes & my heart: that I may see you here and now, for you are what really matters

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