Saturday after the Fourth Sunday in Lent
Then the soldiers led him into the courtyard of the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters); and they called together the whole cohort. And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him.” Mark 15:16-17
Jesus is clothed in symbols of royalty, a purple cloak and a crown, not because the people seek to make him king, but in order to humiliate and shame him. The authorities make a mockery of him and Jesus is the innocent victim of the hatred of human beings. This suffering servant’s kingship is really a kinship. He is one with us, one with all those who suffer humiliation and shame. He understands our pain and stands with us fully and completely. He knows the pain of those who are maligned and victimized. Our redeemer, king, stands with those who are tormented by and ravaged by opioid addiction. He bears the scars of those who have been physically and sexually abused, victims of predators who seek to exert their power and exploit. He knows the humiliation of those who live in poverty, who lack the security of a warm home, and who beg for their next meal. He walks with the immigrant living in fear of deportation and knows the painful wandering of refugees seeking a homeland. This suffering servant king stands before all of these tormented people and each of us who bears the scars of our own emotional, physical or psychological struggles and says: “You are not alone. I am with you.”
This king of compassion wants us to know that not only are we not alone, but also that there is no suffering, not even death itself, that can put an end to God’s love for us. It is a forever love, one that saves and liberates, restores dignity and gives us all hope for new and lasting life. Let us use this Lenten time to re-discover the depth of God’s saving, compassionate love for us all.
Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name. Amen.
The Rev. John W. Sosnowski
Christ Church, Ithan