The Art Site

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sacrifice

Here's something I wrote a while back..
comments gladly accepted :)

The burning heat of the sun falls heavily on the group standing in the middle of the podium. They are all men here, soldiers, dressed in their summer uniforms - white linen tunics, brown sandals, belts - their more formal attire discarded because of the intense heat of summer.
They all laugh and point at something that stands in the middle of their group, we cannot see what it is yet because two giants of men block our view. Sweat rolls down the men's faces, glistens in beads on their necks and shoulders. One of the men to our right, short and balding, laughs extra loudly - cackles, and screeches out words that must be swear words. A ripple of barely - suppressed laughter moves over the crowd like the disturbance of water - like rings in a pond.

Suddenly, there is a hushed silence, heads turn around to look behind them, the crowd parts hesitatingly. A man strides through their midst. The muscles on his golden arms ripple as he swings them, his crisp, bleached hair lies in waves on his fine head. He is indisputably their leader - everything about his confident air and flung back shoulders proclaims it. His eyes flash, almond shaped, brown - he moves down the aisle of perspiring men with a careless grace. He carries on one arm a large piece of Egyptian linen, died a deep purple, like the curved insides of seashells, the colour reserved for kings and emperors only. In the other hand he is holding, very carefully, a wreath of thorns. A scratch runs down the back of one perfect hand, wet with crimson.

Men push against each other, damp tunics to damp tunics, sandals shuffling in the dusty sand, to make way for their leader, and to see what will happen. As they move we see a figure standing alone in this arena of men. He stands a little to one side, his head bowed, his arms hanging by his side. Despite his despondent attitude, there is an aura of peace about him that singles him out from the tense, watching crowd. The crowd catches a glimpse of the man's mutilated back and shoulders - cruel Roman whips have turned his back into ribbons of flesh, skin and blood. Silence grows, throbs like a living organism in its breathless persistence. The leader stands in the ring now, the chiseled head held high, arms crossed, feet apart, a magnificent specimen of manhood, taunting, defiant.

Silence. The man in the center does not look up. The leader advances, stops. In one smooth motion he lifts one hand and drapes the rich purple cloth over the silent man's bowed shoulders. Then, as if he were baiting a wild beast, he lifts the wreath of hideous thorns and with both hands pushes it hard on to the man's head. An expression of intense pain crosses the man's face, his hands clench, and he inhales in one quick, gasping breath. In an attempt at nonchalance, the leader puts his hands on his hips and looks up and down at the silent man. He strides around him triumphantly and then, right up in front of him, he kneels in the dust.

In a voice dripping with sarcasm and barely veiled anger, he says:
"Hail, King of the Jews."
The man's eyes look into the leader's eyes sadly.
"Strike him, Strike him!" Shriek the crowd, unable to bear the suspense.
The leader jumps up, raises his open palm and strikes the man hard, across the face. Instantly the cheek goes chalky white, then burning red. The man winces but continues to look at the ground. The leader scowls, his face contorting with hatred and fear. He purses up his full lips, spits. The mob raises a cheer.
..
Jesus. He sacrificed everything for the people He loved. Just as Jesus showed His love for us by giving us His life, so we show our love by daily sacrificing our own desires for the people we love. We seek their good before we even think of our own. We love in this strange, seemingly contradictory way because God, through His Son, has shown us how.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

...if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?

5:18 pm  
Blogger Lydz said...

Exactly, even IRD employees love those who love them. But I think that love = sacrifice, and sacrifice is more than your common mushy romantic feelings.

The difference seems to be that you act on your feelings; if those feelings aren't very deep then you won't be likely to act on 'em. So even though you are 'just' loving someone who loves you, you're sacrificing yourself for them as well, which mirrors Christ's sacrifice..

5:26 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree. Christ's sacrifice was far greater than sacrifice given for one who reciprocates love. For:

"None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one."

So Christ's love was greater by far. He came not to save those who had regard for him, but those who did not know or love Him. So we must do as it is written:

"Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.."

5:34 pm  
Blogger Lydz said...

By saying that our sacrificial love for others mirrors Christ's sacrifice for us, I wasn't saying that that is the greatest form of love. I was just saying that even while we love those who love us, that can be a sacrificial love. Of course, Christ's love for those who hated him was (and continues to be) the greatest act of love there is.

The thing I don't quite understand, is how Christians love their enemies. I guess that sounds strange, since I'm a Christian. But it's not often we're in a situation that calls us to love people who hate us, and I wouldn't mind knowing ways that we can do that.
I'm guessing that we should look to Christ's sacrifice to show us how to act that way.. but as to what that would look like, I'm not sure.

8:29 pm  

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