Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Woundedness: A Good Friday Litany of Confession

We used this at East Hills Moravian Church in 2008. At the conclusion of the litany, we took time to record our sins on slips of paper, nail them to the cross, and later burn them in an outdoor ash can (a tradition for which we thank our former student pastor Josh Viste).

In the sorrowful twilight on this evening of heartbreak, meditate on Jesus,

Concentrate on Jesus,

Fixate on Jesus and his woundedness.

In the bitter gloaming just past the sun’s darkening, mourn for Jesus,

Weep for Jesus,

Cry for Jesus and his anguish.

Inside your own skin, what does it feel like to be betrayed, rejected?

Like swallowing broken glass.

Inside Jesus’ skin, what did it feel like to be betrayed, rejected?

Like swallowing broken glass.

Who is not distressed by His followers’ abandonment?

Who is not horrified by the violence of the outcome?

Yet who among us is innocent of desertion?

Who among us is guiltless to the core?

Who here has inflicted further wounds upon The Savior?

Who here has not?

Name them.

Name the wounds?

Name the abuses of Love that injure Him as sharply as the whip, the thorns, the nails.

We lash out and leave stripes by our impatience, our bitterness , our arrogance and our envy. We raise welts by our unkind words, our icy attitudes, our thoughtless actions. We cause scars when we are self-centered , when we put our own desires ahead of another’s needs. We do damage when we are indifferent just as surely as when we are malicious. We draw blood when we claim him as Lord, then fail to follow where he leads.

Aren’t we despicable? Aren’t we condemnable?

Aren’t we unforgivable?

So you would think. . . .

A Short Litany as Holy Week Begins

Today we have cheered you on as our champion and hailed you as our hero.

Forgive us tomorrow when our enthusiasm wanes.

Today we have entrusted you to rescue us from our pitiful circumstances.

Forgive us on Tuesday when we decide we can take care of ourselves.

Today we have made you the centerpiece of our very existence.

Forgive us on Wednesday when we forget to remember who you are.

Today we have called out to you loudly by name.

Forgive us on Thursday when we pretend that we’ve never met you.

Today we have stared at you with the star struck eyes of fans and groupies.

Forgive us on Friday when we avert our eyes because it’s too painful to see you on the cross.

Today we have expressed our unsuppressed hopefulness in the future you have in store for us.

Forgive us on Saturday when we believe all is lost.

Today we have been boldly certain of the earthly ways you will redeem us.

Restore us on Sunday when we are startled and awed by your rising.