Makoto Fujimura. The Tears of Christ.
Falsely accused and condemned to death, You, the Word made flesh through whom all was created, didn’t defend Yourself but remained silent, standing with noble courage and compassion, rooted in a goodness far more profound than the absurdity of Your suffering and death. Words would have been a distraction. Your silence kept Your mind and heart anchored in the heart of Your Father. Your silence spoke creative and re-creative words into history, enabling a far greater good. Your silence revealed the mystery of eternity.
I watch with the crowd as the soldiers strip You, put a scarlet cloak around You, and twist thorns into a crown they put on Your head. They shove a reed into Your hand and mockingly kneel at Your precious blood-stained feet saying, “Hail, King of the Jews.” They spit on You and strike You on the head, jamming the thorns deeper into Your scalp. Then they nail You, the Holy One, naked to a cross.
The glory of God burst through precisely when You were most victimized. Had the cross been imposed upon You against Your will, it would have been a slaying and not a sacrifice. Your acceptance of it in loving obedience to Your Father made love visible, the atonement adequate, and the agony bearable. Stretched out on the cross, You turned toward the universe with utter forgiveness. Pierced and broken, You looked down through bloody tears as Your dearest friends ran away and Your Father slowly withdrew His Presence, shredding Your tender heart—leaving You utterly alone.
There’s something so disturbing about the cross that it demands I make a choice. I either step toward it or away from it; the one thing I can’t do is walk away neutral. The cross, the life-giving event for all time and eternity, in its absurd splendor, doesn’t leave that option open to me. Willingly and mysteriously, You drew my burdens and the sufferings of all humanity into Your precious bloodied body that holy day.
I stumble under the weight of my own cross, but when I choose to look up at Yours, I remember You took all of my sins, all of my sickness, loneliness, and loss, all of my betrayals and painful relationships, and held them in Your precious body as they nailed You there. In deepest gratitude then, I choose to pick up my cross again and follow You in deep silence with sober joy wherever You take me. It is a difficult and often disturbing choice that I will have to make over and over again, but by merging my cross with Yours, my burden lightens and loses its absurdness. It is still painful, but it becomes something new.
Oh, Good Jesus,
I try the letting go,
to understand my weakness,
to trust You in my darkness,
to make room for Your grace to heal.
Yet there is no return,
only the echo of my own crying.
It seems I, too, with You,
am caught between the nails.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.1
The acceptance of Your yoke, made in the absence of understanding or certain knowledge, has set me free and moved me towards peace—that deep disposition of the heart that comes from humility and the willingness to remain silent, letting go of my oppressive need to be right in my own eyes and the eyes of others. Compassionate peace is the foundation of my ability to stand with You at the fearful edge, under the cross, in the cross, with the world, in the suffering, and dare to believe that, through sacrificial silence and deep acceptance, there is a peaceful alternative.
Oh, Good Jesus,
in this holy place of crucifixion,
broaden the boundaries of my heart.
Soften the hard places that
defend, define and deny.
Teach my heart to love.
Make it a refuge for others
who, too, are caught
between the nails.
A Further Word from Betty
Many, many people come to the altar, but few find their way to the foot of the cross. Only John the beloved and the three Marys were there when our Lord was crucified—fear had scattered the rest. Jesus leads us to the foot of the cross, and then we are drawn into the cross. There we die to all that is false and become one with Him. When we pass through the cross, our hearts are softened by a profound compassion that embraces the whole world. We have finally passed through ourselves and transcended the things of the world that would keep us in bondage.The Hidden Life Awakened pp 214-215