I guess that really isn't that many considering that I've been writing for 3 years but I'm going to celebrate the occasion anyway. My original intention for this blog was to write about my travels studying abroad, which never happened. I guess in a way, I did eventually travel away from home so at least I have fulfilled that purpose somewhat.
On a completely unrelated note, I was going through the files on my laptop tonight, cleaning and organizing (yes, you can do that on a laptop), when I came across a reflection essay that I wrote for my Christian Doctrines class.
And I thought I would share it with you. It is a reflection of Matthias Grünewald's "The Crucifixion," part of his larger piece the Isenheim Alterpiece.
So, without further ado, here is my essay; enjoy!
A very human death of Yahweh: God-with-us
|The Crucifixion, Matthias Grünewald|
What difference does it make that Jesus died?
Instinctively, I know that it does make a difference that Jesus died…I just don’t know how to put into words what that difference is. The painting is very graphic.
It isn’t like a lot of crucifixion paintings where Jesus looks more like a super-human who hasn’t been truly affected by his suffering.
No, Grünewald’s painting is very much in touch with Jesus’s human nature and what it means to suffer to the point of death.
Rather than portray God-with-us as a God who is all-powerful, Jesus is battered and grotesque and wasting away and beaten and weak at his end.
So, why does it matter that he died? First off, I think it matters because it shows that Jesus lived the entire human lifespan from birth to death.
He didn’t skip out on any aspect of it but instead lived it all.
I think what it is even more awe-inspiring in that knowledge is that he didn’t sin at all even when suffering and dying. I know for me, when I was on the brink of death I struggled to even be able to have the thought of mind to even think about sin.
My energy was spent on just surviving – the bare minimum necessary to make it through the day – so I didn’t have any extra energy to devote to loving God and others above myself.
And yet, Jesus did that.
Another aspect that stands out to me is that if Jesus suffered and died, then there is no amount of suffering that I could go through that Jesus has not himself experienced. You could argue that his suffering was taken to completion in his death.
There is no more suffering after that point and he went there.
So, no matter how much suffering I go through, Jesus has taken it further than that because he took it to its completion.
When I was extremely sick, my body was shutting down: I was dying. Jesus knows what that is like because he was in that same place.
There is no aspect of the human life that he did not live fully.
He conquered death and that means that there is nothing that has not been conquered by him.
There is nothing that does not bow in submission to God – God reigns supreme over all including death and the depths of Hell.
My dear brothers and sisters, I pray that you will come to know Jesus, God-with-us, in ways that you never could have thought or imagined. I pray that you will rest in the knowledge that the God of the universe is with us in our lives - the good, the bad, and the ugly.