Station Ten: Jesus is Stripped of His Clothing
And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take.
As we reach this point in the story, Jesus is left with nothing, not even his clothes for the preservation of his identity and dignity. What are we to do with Jesus’s nakedness and vulnerability? We move fairly quickly to re-clothe Jesus in the clothing of our own choosing. We change our question from asking if this story can hold us to trying to figure out ways to hold and control the story ourselves. Perhaps we do this because we do not want to deal with our own nakedness and vulnerability – with our own shame.
So far in these meditations we have focused on God-forsakenness, but we have not dealt with the ways that we contribute our own darkness to the world. We want to rid the world of evil, but we fear knowing the darkness inside of ourselves. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn says,
If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.
The Bible is clear that Jesus came to save us from our sins. How are we to understand sin? Ultimately, it seems that sin is a failure to live as we were made to live, in God’s image. Failure to love. Failure to see and act on the image of God in ourselves and in others. Failure to honor and preserve God’s creation. Failure to live within the design of God’s kingdom as Jesus taught in the beatitudes.
In the introduction to Fujimura’s book, Philip Yancey talks about sin in this way,
Sharp edged gossip, the stab of envy, the colleague we humiliated, the racist comment that drew a laugh, a sudden and inexplicable cruelty, apologies to our children deserved but never made, a furtive fantasy, a stolen kiss, callousness toward another’s misery, an addiction to what demeans or even destroys – in small ways and large we too step on the fumi-e.
In the story of Adam and Eve we hear that before the fall they were be able to stand before God naked and unashamed. If we dare to be honest with ourselves we know that we have fallen so many ways. But there is grace even in the confessing. It is more life giving to ask to be forgiven from the ways that we have disregarded the image of God, than to proclaim that God’s image in each other and in the world is not important in the first place.