Jesus, Fully Human, Fully God.

JESUS IS HUMAN. JESUS IS GOD.

(edited for theological accuracy!)

It was important for me to learn that Jesus was fully human in every way, even though he is also the Son of God.  

Jesus hungered. He grew weary after a long dusty walk or a difficult day.  He prayed, yes he talked to God and it was necessary to do so. He required food and water, even human love.  He is fully human. 

Jesus had people, his people, his community – a mother who loved, a step-father who provided, half siblings all with their messy lives and needs, friends who gave to him and took from him. He had friends who got sick and died.  

He wept salty tears. He thirsted as he hung there, dying slowly and painfully. 

If he was not fully human his dying would be meaningless. If he is not the Son of God his dying would be meaningless.  It is in the joining, of being fully human and fully God, that his sacrifice is fully known to us.

The day I was able to absorb the idea that this Jesus died for me, my heart and my life were forever changed. First to fathom it, was just the just beginning.  But then to accept the notion that Christ would have died on that gruesome, utterly painful cross for me – even if were I the only sinner needing his sacrifice – yes, only me. Still he would have died. 

Owning that concept fully and completely, that Christ died for me, changed me into a different person. The trajectory of my life altered, its purpose settled into a different rhythm as I was able to understand, though I will never know fully, this sacrifice. 

THE WOUNDS OF MOTHERHOOD

As I worked on this piece “the weeping women of Jerusalem” I thought about how often I weep as a mother.  It is often because of motherhood — the burden and the responsibility to care for, guide and protect my children, my deep love for them and even more so my strong desire that they would come to know the Jesus that I know.  My heart breaks from it, sometimes.

As Jesus met the women of Jerusalem, who wept for him, according to Luke 23:27-31, it is said:

There followed him a great multitude of the people, and of women who bewailed and lamented him. But Jesus turning to them said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never gave suck!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us’; and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

I know the wounds of motherhood, the weeping for my children.  Jesus meets us there — in his sacrifice.  And he will meet our children too, though we must trust him to do so and allow him wipe our tears.

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Stations of the Cross is a visual art and music experience in Madison, Wisconsin, opening March 30, 2012, with exhibit hours during Holy Week from March 30 through Good Friday on April 6. See our website for details on the art and music exhibit experience, artists, blog posts, and exhibit schedule. RSVP on Facebook.

The Stations of the Cross

In a couple of week I will be a part of The Stations of the Cross exhibit in Madison Wisconsin.  It is a collaborative effort among 15 artists and musicians to create a week-long art exhibition as an experience of the 14 stations of the Passion of Christ in the final days of his human life.

This is something I wrote considering the Stations.

For the project seven visual artists have each taken two Stations of the Cross and have created something within their medium (paint, photography, glass mosaic, cloth, sculpture, etching).  Each was considering the suffering and resurrection of Jesus as they interpreted it visually.  Then musicians responded.  Each artist had the freedom to choose the “lens” or perspective through which they interpreted the journey of Christ.  Over a period of several months, they internalized and stewed on their stations to discern and recognize its gravity, complexity and significance.  Then they reacted in a concrete form.

It isn’t often as a visual artist, that I choose to  actively express a part of my faith through my photography.  This project was an exception to that. 

The Christian life is often described as a road walked with Jesus, ever cognizant of the suffering that surrounds us every day.  If we were able to walk with him through those days and hours, two thousand years ago, even the moments before his death, how might that change us?

Someone once said that much of the spiritual journey is being stripped of all that we tend to put our trust in. Life is found in losing it for Christ’s sake; life itself and that which God has prepared for each of us, if received fully, deeply, viscerally, into our dna, will teach us what it means to walk with Jesus today.

The object of the Stations historically is to help the faithful to make a spiritual pilgrimage of prayer, through meditating on the chief scenes of Christ’s sufferings and death.

We invite you to walk with us back to those days of Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday if you are local to Madison:

The Stations of the Cross exhibit will take place at the Common Wealth Gallery in the Madison Enterprise Center, 3rd floor, at 100 S. Baldwin St, Madison, WI (map).

The exhibit will be open during the following times.

  • Fri Mar 30, 2012
    7:00pm – 8:30pm exhibit opens
    8:30pm – 10:30pm reception, live music, meet artists & musicians
  • Sun Apr 1
    2:00pm – 5:00pm
  • Wed Apr 4
    3:00pm – 7:00pm
  • Good Friday Apr 6
    4:00pm – 10:00pm

The Bible says that there is no human pain or joy that Jesus has not taken on to himself when he lived and died two thousand years ago in Palestine.  From the Garden of Gethsemane to the Cross he died on.  Because of his sacrifice, we are able to see the world differently and experience the highs of love and joy, as well as the lows of suffering and sorrow.  This is in and through Jesus.

As Henri Nouwen said: “Jesus died and rose for all people with all their differences, so that all could be lifted up with him into the splendor of God.  There is immense pain in the wide world around us and there is immense pain in the small world within us.  But all pain belongs to Jesus.”

Walking these stations is an opportunity to pause, set aside the distractions of your life, in order to listen and remember Jesus of Nazareth.  What you suffer he suffered.  Experience the redemption and good news.

God whispers to us in our pleasures,
speaks to us in our conscience,
but shouts in our pains;
it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.

–C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

Walk with us.  Walk with him.