Today is the Sunday of Christ the King, according to the church calendar. A day that brings to mind celebration and triumph and power and victory, all those “positive” things we modern Americans like so much to focus on.
(It must be said, however, that our ideas about power and victory are generally very different from power as understood through historical Christian teaching.)
We want to triumph in our own lives. We like to celebrate--and rarely even talk about mourning and grieving, not to mention the simple but sometimes excruciating task of bearing our crosses and standing up under the weight of them.
So I, feeling the heavy weight of my particular cross this morning, was deeply touched by this unfamiliar verse of a familiar hymn. The version I grew up singing did not include it:
Crown him the Son of God before the worlds began,
and ye, who tread where he hath trod, crown him the Son of man;
who every grief hath known that wrings the human breast,
and takes and bears them for his own, that all in him may rest.
He walked on this earth. He hurt. He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He denied himself, took up his cross, and lost his life.
He sees, he hears, he knows, he cares.
He will redeem all pain and sorrow.
Let’s not leave out that verse. People need to hear it sung.
(For those interested in comparing, this is the same crucifix as pictured in my January 6, 2006 blog entry, from St. Columba Retreat Center. It seems appropriate for this post, as time and weather and woodpeckers have taken their toll, and the Christ figure has disintegrated except for the part you see here which once represented the right arm. It is sad, but also a reminder that Christ himself is alive no matter what time and nature bring. Though he suffered to the end, his life did not end on the cross.)