Yeah, Yeah, God is Great

Because Christmas and Easter cannot be separated, the birth of Jesus, the true light coming into the world, and the risen Christ bringing new light and life back into the world that is fallen because of the sin of Adam, contemplating both events is awesome.

How much more humble can you get than incarnating as a helpless baby when you are the infinitely powerful God? Born naked…learning potty training…how to talk and walk…and your mom and dad teaching you to pray. They teach you to pray even though you are a part of the Trinity. You have always existed but now you exist in time.

Fast forward to the passion and crucifixion. There is debate among scholars what that was like for Jesus. The Roman forces would scourge a victim who was going to be crucified naked. The pain, at least part of it, is in the humiliation of being nude. Nude equals vulnerable.

There is also scholarly debate on what it meant by Jesus being stripped. Does stripped mean without your clothes on or does stripped mean down to your loin cloth? And then there is the crucifixion itself. Generally the Roman tradition was to execute the criminal totally naked. The Romans were interested in inflicting the greatest amount of physical pain as well as inflicting the greatest amount of emotional pain that they could on the victims of crucifixion before their deaths.

There is humiliation in being executed. Multiply that humiliation by being publicly naked when it is an affront to your cultural norms. Add excruciating pain and a slow tortuous death to the equation. That is what our Savior endured for us.

It can be reasonably said that all the nudity our Savior endured in his final hours is akin to sexual abuse without bodily violation. It went hand in hand with the physical abuse of the slaps, punches, scourging and crucifixion. Remember it was all designed for the debasement of the condemned and as a warning to others. The Nazis did the same thing to the Jews in concentration camps. Co-ed nudity in the gas chambers then death.

It should be comforting in a way, disturbing in others, that our God took not only the physical abuse that he endured into the godhead but also the humiliation and pain of sexual abuse. It is hard to fathom, I cannot fathom it. But I know he did it for me. He did it for all the victims of abuse.

I do know that the knowledge of that should heal me. God is the only one who can heal any of us. So what am I doing or not doing for that to happen? Now it is true I am surrounded by priests who are woefully uneducated and or misinformed about abuse, all abuse, so they do not make it easy for me. I also know that there are may people, and they are Legion, who are also in the same situation with family, friends and co workers. It makes my heart ache to realize that there are people who for thousands of years have been subjected to this very thing, Heck it breaks my heart that I have been subjected to it. It breaks my heart that there are priests and bishops who have been complicit in inflicting the pain. Are they complicit in placing the pain on Jesus thus placing it in the godhead? If God wanted to reject the pain he could have but he did not. Woe to those men and women who inflicted the pain on others or currently try to diminished that pain.

The song written by Eric Bazilian and sung by Joan Osborn was never meant to be a religious song but it became one in the minds of the unwashed masses. Well God was and is one of us in Jesus Christ. It is beyond proper to proclaim that God is Great. Now if we could just get out of his way and let him do his job.

About follow1in3

I am a Roman Catholic priest ordained for the Diocese of Wilmington, DE who is also a victim of clergy sexual abuse. I am often angered by the insensitiviy and hostility of other clergy, the hierarchy and the so-called people-of-God. If clergy, bishops included, really and truly understood abuse, (any kind of abuse), I would not feel the need to blog on occasion. It is very frustraing.
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