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Daily Devotional for July 10

July 10                                                            Luke 23:44-56

Throughout the ages, art, drama, and music have depicted with
poignancy and pathos the mystery of death. Aida, Madame
Butterfly, and Othello present but a few of art's unforgettable
portrayals of death. And artists since the time of Christ have
painted the crucifixion scene, reminding people of every
generation of the power of this unforgettable event.

The directness and simplicity of Luke's account also capture
the mystical drama of the crucifixion. The eclipsed sun, the
piercing last cry of Jesus, the centurion's confession of faith,
and the mourning crowd all convey the idea that this death
is more than ordinary.

The cruelty of the event is softened, however, by the compas-
sion of Joseph of Arimathea. Opposed to the council's decision,
Joseph is one "who was looking for the reign of God." And
so he requests of Pilate the opportunity to bury Jesus' body.
Through the Gospel account, we watch with the women as
he compassionately takes the lifeless body from the cross,
carefully wraps it in a linen shroud, and gently places it in a
new rock-hewn tomb.

This cruel death and compassionate burial remind us that both
human cruelty and hatred and a resolute expression of love
and sensitivity exist side by side in much of life. The civil rights
struggle in America cannot be comprehended apart from the
cruel force of Bull Connor on the one hand and the compas-
sionate leadership of Martin Luther King, Jr., on the other.
Similarly, the struggle for lesbian and gay rights cannot be
understood apart from the attacks of Anita Bryant and Jerry
Falwell on the one hand, and the sacrifices of Leonard
Matlovich and Troy Perry on the other. In history, in addi-
tion to the villains, there are also the heroes and heroines.

Luke's portrayal of the crucifixion spares nothing of these
realities of life. The destructiveness and the redemptive mean-
ing of the cross live side by side. The cross is real, embracing
both pain and sorrow, compassion and redemption. And the
question it leaves us with is this: In the events of history with
which my life intersects each day, which side am I on?

from The Road to Emmaus - An inclusive devotional Edited by Joseph W. Houle

Emmaus House of Prayer - Washington D.C


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