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Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of October 10, 2010

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  • Adam DeBaugh
    Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of October 10, 2010 ********** As one of the on-going ministries of Chi Rho Press, here is a selection from our book of daily
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 9, 2010
      Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of October 10, 2010

      **********

      As one of the on-going ministries of Chi Rho Press,
      here is a selection from our book of daily devotions,
      "Living as the Beloved: One Day at a Time," by the
      Rev. Dr. Sandra Bochonok.

      Please read the Scripture passage and Dr. Bochonok's
      meditation. We hope you will be blessed.

      Thank you for forwarding this to your friends.

      Crown of thorns

      "Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into
      the governor's headquarters, and they gathered the
      whole cohort around him. They stripped him and put
      a scarlet robe on him, and after twisting some thorns
      into a crown, they put it on his head. They put a
      reed in his right hand and knelt before him and
      mocked him, saying, 'Hail, King of the Jews!' They
      spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the
      head. After mocking him, they stripped him of the
      robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led
      him away to crucify him."
      Matthew 27: 27-31

      Institutionalized cruelty comes in many different
      forms. Consider the situation of Jesus Christ. We
      often fail to appreciate the physical and emotional
      anguish Jesus experienced during his pre-crucifixion
      ordeal. For hours on end, brutal soldiers tortured
      him. First they shamed him by stripping off his
      clothes. Then they mocked him by dressing him with
      a scarlet robe fit for a king. Then they began to
      deliberately torture him, beginning from his head
      and working their way down the entire length of his
      body by flogging him with stone tipped whips. The
      soldiers made a cruel crown of thorns and jammed it
      on his head. Blood streamed into his eyes. They
      teased him, spit on him, and hit him repeatedly on
      the head with blinding blows from their fists and
      clubs.

      When they wearied of their sport, the soldiers
      stripped Jesus again before dressing him in his
      own clothing. His back, bloodied and raw with
      every nerve ending in agony, stained his clothing
      with his own blood and sweat. Exhausted by pain,
      faint with thirst, fatigued from his sleepless
      night, swollen and bruised, Jesus was barely
      recognizable even to those who loved him. Only
      then did the soldiers lead him away to be crucified,
      forcing Jesus to carry his own cross with his last
      ounce of remaining strength.

      Perhaps these soldiers had been desensitized by the
      nature of their terrible work assignment. By
      torturing and mocking their condemned prisoners, it
      may have been easier for the soldiers to carry out
      their grisly task. The torture dehumanized their
      captives. As the hours went by, I imagine the
      soldiers were swept up by a mob mentality. Some
      may have even enjoyed the bloodletting. People
      can be cruel. Even those who are normally kind
      and gentle can surprise us with their brutality
      when with a group of peers. Wearing a uniform can
      help the violence feel more anonymous. Perhaps
      this is why so many invading and occupying armies
      have raped and pillaged throughout history.

      No matter what we believe about the historical
      Jesus, the brutality of his death sentence cannot
      be minimized. A man innocent of a crime was
      condemned to the most shameful and painful death
      Imperial Roman society could devise. As the
      soldiers led Jesus away to be crucified, his
      religious enemies rejoiced while his friends
      and family wept in dismay and horror.

      What is your response to Jesus in this situation
      as you use your imagination, hearing the sickening
      thud of clubs striking his head, while listening
      to the soldiers curse and berate him? Take a few
      minutes and journal your thoughts and prayers. In
      your own life experience, have you ever experienced
      such dehumanizing mockery and shame? If so, take
      comfort. Jesus understands and can help you find
      strength for the day and your situation. Because
      he suffered, he understands pain, ridicule, shame,
      torture, injustice, brutality, and evil.

      God, as I contemplate Jesus wearing his crown of
      thorns, help me find healing in my own experiences
      of shame, mockery, and physical abuse. Give me
      courage to compassionately intervene and stop
      cruel behavior to others when I see it.
      Amen.

      Grace and peace,

      Chi Rho Press

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