This Good Friday morning, I follow Jesus, surely at a cautious distance, as He walks. I wonder now, these long years into it, is there anything cautious about following Jesus at all? Jesus walks, stepping toward, walking into ridicule and scorn, sorrow beyond all measure. He does so, having long since the moments of creation, relinquished the idea of just fixing it all. He relinquishes again, the thought of just fixing the problem of sin, (and thereby annihilating our freedom to choose) and instead, invites us to become more : more than our sin, more than our weakness or strength, more than our skill or lack thereof; the object of someone’s admiration or scorn. He invites us to become family; his family.
And so…long since choosing him myself, I follow. His stride is not faint. Though likely weak, his body’s vitality sapped by beating, his step remains confident. Mine, is anything but. Still, I am stunned that Jesus keeps inviting me(us) into the most sacred of His moments: into pain, into the grey space of question (Father…Father?). Into times and spaces usually reserved for one’s closest friends and family; opening the door to a communion of ‘knowing,’ rather than simply imagining. What kind of intimate invitation is this? What sacred sorrow might Jesus be inviting me to step into today, knowing fully that he has walked this path before?
I have never, ever, considered suffering an invitation before. Perhaps it functions as a constructive discipline, or necessary evil, but invitation? To feel the weakening heartbeat – then nothing – of laying it all down? Invitation – to breathe the last vapors of self-preservation and feel the faint stirring rise and fall, of other breath. His breath, for he is alive? Invitation – to be entrusted with the sacredness of dying to oneself, in order to give latitude to another’s air, a home to one who had no place to lay his head.
Surely, we did not deserve all this careful folding and unfolding of the veil. Indeed, it is torn in carefully measured threads. What startling resemblance to swaddling… to grave cloths. Remember.