Man of Sorrows. Acquainted with Grief.

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Isaiah 53.”

Passion: To suffer.
Jesus: A Man of Sorrows.
The Planet Earth 2004: Weighted with unrelieved suffering. (Shiite Bombing foto right).

Maybe it is because my brother was born with brain damage when I was ten years old. Maybe it is because my mother has Alzheimer’s. Maybe it is because I am flawed and end every day with a sense of my own inadequacy unable to live consistently with my own aspirations.

Maybe it is because I read the newspapers everyday. Lacy Peterson and baby found in SF bay.911 World Trade Center’s collapsing. Teenage suicide on the rise. Over 140 Shiite Muslims pilgrims killed in bombings.

Maybe it is because I shudder at evangelicalism’s passion for church growth when Jesus alternatingly attracted and repelled crowds. Maybe it is because churches that are growing justify targeting “homogenous units” saying glibly, “People want to be in church with people like them,” when Jesus pulled rich and poor into a radical transformative community.” Maybe I recoil at Passion jewelry deals being signed, discussion DVD’s being marketed, peddling Jesus Passion like some product to be sold, some strategy to reach seekers instead of a corrective for our own suffer-free easy gospel. What is Rick Warren thinking when he talks about being exasperated when bringing a seeking friend to church and discovering it was communion Sunday? How is this different from the “moderate Protestant” who said he and his wife won’t recommend The Passion to their friends because, “We don’t want to be responsible for anyone having a horrible time.”

Maybe it is because I was raised on theology-rich hymns: “there is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.” “Man of sorrows what a name for the Son of God who came, ruined sinners to reclaim! Hallelujah! What a Savior!”

Maybe these are the reasons I ask, Could The Passion be too graphic? The Nicene Creed gives no details but states what Christians everywhere believe. Jesus death was “for us and our salvation.”

He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53.

Remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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