Contemplating Jesus

WITHOUT WORDS

Posted on by Lucinda M. Vardey

Jesus’ uniqueness was that he taught experientially. Certainly his parables reflect the narrative tradition of the time, the telling of tales with moral messages, but his greatest teachings were more subtle. Jesus spoke a different language, situated more in the metaphysical than the culture of the time. This language could be comprehended by those who could hear with their hearts, who were more open to trust that the workings of love had an alphabet of its own. And its expression of love was inscribed not on tablets of old, or in ancient scrolls, but on a body, beaten, bruised and abused to the point of non-recognition.

The days that led up to the crucifixion – filled with suspicion, betrayals, injustices, ignorances and fears – illustrate the primary alphabet of love which can be expressed only, it seems, in suffering. Debasement and humility teach acceptance: that love is not about oneself. It’s a language always turned to the other, speaking its words by the outpouring of its essence upon whoever is there to witness. And it speaks of trust; that however grave, tragic or terrible the circumstance, God is forming something great out of it. In fact, by practising this speechless language of suffering love, unleashes light, the sort of light
that resurrects circumstances, turns people’s hearts, and reveals gifts that surpass human understanding.

The details of Jesus’ physical torturous death are wordless words spoken silently in the prayers of countless people through the ages who are blessed for not seeing and yet having believed. (Ref: John 20:29)

For what had not been told them they will see,
And what they had not heard they will understand. (Isaiah 52.15)

Painting:  Crucifixion by Filippo Brunelleschi (14th century)

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