Here is our King. Here is God’s glory. In the tortured flesh of our
God-Man Jesus. This flesh on which we feast. This blood which we drink.
The broken, the poured out from which there is true wholeness, true
Jesus however, is not presented as a sexual object (neither to be an
object of our desire, nor as a subject who felt desire). Naked Jesus
symbolizes the power of the incarnation, the undoing of the stain of
our original sin (thank you very much, Augustine), a perfect hypostatic
union of God and Man. God made Flesh, made manifest.
Yes. We are all created in the image of God. Male and female, God
created us. Then God became flesh and dwelt among us. Sexuality is part
of being human.
Women’s lives are tied to their bodies, for better or worse. Can
they produce children or not? Are they beautiful or not? Are they pure
or unclean? Jesus too is sexualized and desexualized with the fashions
of the times. But, I believe Jesus sees, knows and loves us all as
fully-human natural women.
I can still hope for a day when ministers can wear mini-skirts, when
we’re not defined by our wombs and breasts and need not fear being
barren, when women no longer need to beat their breasts for the sins of
the world. Jesus, you with us?
Even then they profiled us. But I wonder what it was like to be the
nigger at the wrong place at the wrong time that day. There he was,
Simon, an African man in Jerusalem. Should have been in Africa where he
belonged, but he'd come for Passover. Oh we was going to get passover
Simon must have watched with horror as what was left
of Jesus tried to drag that massive cross a few more feet down the
road. Can you imagine it? Jesus had suffered the humiliation of being
stripped naked. Had bets placed for His few humble pieces of clothing.
He'd been spit upon and beaten and scourged until His flesh hung off
his bones. He scarcely resembled a man. And then He had to take that
long walk carrying the cross he'd eventually die on.
"You broke the bonds And you loosened the chains Carried the cross Of all my shame all my shame You know I believe it But I still haven't found what I'm looking for"
- U2, I Still Haven't found What I'm Looking For
I was listening to my U218 CD in the car and these lines from the most
preached on U2 song ever caught my attention. I had just been looking
at the images from the life of Christ visual we are using in our Maundy
Thursday service and recalled this image from Nicaragua. So often we
get so caught up in the personal affront to Jesus - the beatings, the
torture, and the via crucis - and the personal freedom it grants us
without placing it in context.
Jesus did come to loose the
chains of injustice. He came to set the captives free. His people were
living under oppression. A military government controlled them and
occupied their land. Jesus came to offer the way of peace and love even
amidst that lack of freedom. A revolution more radical than any violent
uprising, more subversive than any secret army.
At Golgotha, God declares the end of strategy.
God will not play our power games.
There is no win or lose.
I believe that if the church allows itself to be tied up in
strategies, to 'winning' people for Christ, it will end be moving
towards power-politics, towards support for wars, and away from genuine
concern for 'the other'.
To give oneself for 'the other' is to lose. It is to be engaged in
transformative relationships, rather than tactical change. It is to
love. To know grace. And grace and love have no strategy.