Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day 18 of Lent :: A Different Kind of King

“They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on His head. They put a staff in His right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt in front of Him and mocked Him.
‘Hail, king of the Jews!’ they said.”
(Matthew 27:28-29)
Reflection: Jesus, I cringe at the pain of the thorns, but I am wounded far more deeply by the humiliation and degradation You suffered.  The very thing You came to offer us as a gift, Your Kingship, became a thing of ridicule by the Roman soldiers.  The crowds thought of a King in terms of power.  You came to be a King Who shepherds His people, Who takes responsibility for their well-being, Whose principles are faithfulness, justice, and righteousness.  And yet, people are not always ready for that kind of King.
I would like to think that I am ready to follow You, Who offer a Kingdom of peace and love.  But am I?  Am I willing to yield my ideas of what the Kingdom should be and accept the role of a servant?  Am I willing to give up my human preoccupation with power and control, and then accept a crown that is different from what I was expecting?
You accepted the Cross in the midst of mockery; You could have refused it.  What more could they have done to You?  You began this journey knowing full well where it would lead, yet I hear no words of complaint, no protestations of innocence, no cursing the injustice.    You accepted Your cross without self-pity.[i] 
In contrast, I am so prone to complain and whine about the most trivial things.  Other times, the things I face in my life are more than trivial; troubles bear down upon me, and I easily slip into self-pity.  Too often, I assume that I am the only one who bears a cross, or that my cross is larger and heavier than any others.  This is not true.  People around me often bear far more than I must bear.
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for forgetting that in my weakness I am driven to trust You, and in that trust I become strong: ‘Your power is made perfect in my weakness.’ (2 Corinthians 12:9) Forgive my attitude of self-pity that makes me more repulsive than lovable.  I do not ask for crosses to bear, but when they come, give me the strength to bear them as I follow Your example.”

[i] The devotional thought for Day 18 & 20 were inspired by Dr. Dennis Bratcher. http://www.crivoice.org/stations.html.

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