On Good Friday, one church in my community posts around the cross the names of homeless people in our city who have died over the winter. The congregation emphasizes that as Jesus was sacrificed, so others in our community are sacrificed by human failure. As a result, an intimate connection is created between our most vulnerable neighbours and Jesus.
Like the high priest of Hebrew tradition, Jesus, because he came in full flesh, can deal gently with human weakness and offer atonement, but unlike the high priest, through also being the sacrifice itself, Jesus experiences the most degrading of human circumstances. Jesus both offers the sacrifice and is the sacrifice. In this dual role the immensity of God’s love is shown. God, through Jesus, demonstrates not only compassion for human experience, but also a desire to have an intimate presence in human suffering.
Where do we see human suffering today? How can we be examples of God’s compassion and presence in those situations?
Loving God, open our hearts to the gracious gift of your sacrifice and open our eyes to the human suffering around us. Amen. — RL