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Broken and afflicted

The church where I work was destroyed over 40 years ago by a tornado.  There really wasn't much of anything left, but at some point, a few pieces of the crucifix were found.  Actually, it wasn't even the crucifix, but just the corpus (body) of Christ that hung on the cross:  the torso, head and arms (not even the hands survived).

Now that it is Lent, our pastor decided to take down our beautiful Resurrection Jesus, in our re-built church, that hangs over the altar and replace it with this broken, battered, afflicted Christ - a survivor of both man's beastly torture and nature's force.  It is a fitting focus for Lent.

All of us have moments where we feel "dismembered":  outside of a community or family situation, where our body appears to be out of control with illness or addiction, loneliness, depression, emotional estrangement or pain over a situation out of our control.  It is a horrible and dark place to be.....and yet, it is where we are most like Christ.

We know, from the very beginning of Scripture, that we are made in God's "image and likeness".  That means we get all of God's best - His love, compassion, mercy, justice, courage, grace and ability to be creative.  But we also get His suffering.  Where else would we learn the compassion, mercy, and courage?   Where else would we know His depth of love for us?  It is only when we are dismembered that we can be made whole - only when we realize our brokenness that we can understand our total reliance of God's love to hold us together.

In a whirl of wind and debris, that corpus of Christ was torn apart, and then someone lovingly searched through rubble, bricks, shards of wood and glass to find what was left and reveal the broken beauty left behind.  This Lent, pray that God will do the same for you in your life:  search through the debris of sin and nonsense that clutter and destroy, find what is good and of Him, so that on Easter morning, you may shine with broken beauty before Him who saves.

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