There are days I long to write, but my hands are bare. God has bound them, because the idea has not yet formed itself, because I am incomplete, because the words are not in a state that can be read. This refinement process is often brutal, constricting… torturous. Sometimes I sit two, maybe three days begging for the idea to generate, feeling numb, needing to understand the words, His words. They are food to me. I hunger in His wilderness. I do no understand. I wrestle. I question. It becomes dark, but I know that He is there.
I have always identified with the crucifixion, but in that superficial way. Nail it to the cross, give it to Jesus. And even when I first became a Catholic, the large crucifix in the center of the church was just that, a crucifix. I couldn’t get beyond its superficiality made by human hands. But it’s been a year of refinement. And the crucifix has changed dimensions for me. As I’ve walked it’s taken a form and shape.
But I often wish I could feel the cross, understand it more deeply, not just stare at his forlorn face but enter it in some sort of spiritual sense. We bear are own crosses but we stop there. We never stop to feel the wood.
But today I understood. I understood that the crucifixion is too large of an event to comprehend. I understood that it has to be broken down into particles in order to feed from its wisdom. I understood that it wasn’t just a tree, but it was the materiality of the wood. That the wood was holy and sacred, that it made everything right, that it provided the vehicle for the resurrection.
Wood splinters and hurts, it is rough, it has infinite pattern and breath. I could see into the wood, its history, its complication, its final breath of Jesus. If I could feel the wood I could accept my sufferings. If I understood the purpose of it, I could understand how to accept it.
It was after all the wood that made the water clean in Exodus 15.
verse 25, “he cried out to the Lord, who pointed out to him a piece of wood. When he threw it into the water, the water became fresh.”
It is Christ’s death on the wood that allows the resurrection of baptism. The wood made the water clean. There is no resurrection without the crucifixion. It is the wood that purifies us.
Oh Lord of Hosts,
Let me accept my wood so that I can be purified by you. Remind me that the sting of the wood takes away the bitterness in my life. Remind me that the only way to cleanse myself is through the wood of your cross. Be with me through the process.
In Jesus name, Amen