Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Would I walk away?
Would I be able to bear the sight of someone, anyone, being crucified? Would I stand by, knowing that I was putting my life in danger by the very act? And further, would I continue to witness this horrible torture being inflicted on The One I believed had come to save me? The One I loved?
Am I like Mary Magdalene? Or am I Judas?
I pondered these thoughts and more last night as I walked through an exhibit on the Shroud of Turin hosted by a local church. I had seen the display years ago, but it continued to inspire and fascinate me. And provoke me.
The first time I saw the display it included a graphic figure of the Crucified Christ as He was likely to have appeared: covered with horrific wounds, dripping with blood. I quickly looked away.
I continue to look away. I cannot bear the cross. I can't bear Jesus', and I can't bear my own, even (maybe especially) the tiny ones. I used to entertain a fantasy in which I was like Veronica, offering Jesus compassion. I was like The Magdalene, steadfast at her Lord's feet. I was akin to His Blessed Mother, washing his wounds with my tears.
I know myself better today. I'm much more like Joseph of Arimathea, who showed up at the last minute in secret. I'm like the Centurion, only converted after seeing Jesus suffer patiently for hours. I'm like Thomas, who was hiding somewhere and insisted on proof even when the Risen Jesus was standing right in front of him. I'm Peter, who betrayed his best friend repeatedly and then ran off crying.
I know in my heart I've got lots in common with Judas. Lots.
Seeing that exhibit again last night brought me to Calvary in the smallest way. Daily life is really more effective for that, isn't it? Just praying I won't run away. Just praying...