Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Whoever has been as lonely as Jesus

Christ's Entry into Jerusalem by Hippolyte Flandrin c. 1842
How strange that you too should have been drawn to the image of the Entry into Jerusalem!  It has been in my mind these past days in these two aspects: that for most, their enthusiastic acclamation of Jesus as Messiah disguises from them their repudiation of what messiahship means.  As soon as it involves, not just death but degradation, to be driven "outside the camp bearing His reproach", they reject Him.  They cannot believe that holiness is without beauty and majesty.  And Jesus knows they can't.  This aspect is so poignantly portrayed in your picture - the grave tranquillity of the still centre where Jesus sits, amid the threatening swirl of friends as well as foes.  He understands our heart and how little able it is to realize truth and adhere to it - and it is this clear vision that gives His love its aching utterness.  Whoever has been as lonely as Jesus, perhaps lonely in proportion to His total love?  We can so easily think that love brings us into a warmth, an emotional companionship with others - and I think this is not so.  It is the sacrificial reality of love that they are looking for.

No one ever came to our dear Lord without knowing that here was Someone to whom he or she mattered, who would gladly die on their behalf - and I think that is what we must ask Him to achieve in us.  And the cost of coming so close to Him may well be an increasing isolation from the stream around us.
Sister Wendy Beckett