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Rembrandt_-_The_Three_Crosses_(second_state)_-_WGA19086

This week, I’ve been thinking about the thief on the cross to whom Jesus promises, “today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).  It’s never too late to start over.

As the shine of yoga-camp-life wears off, and we’re traveling, my new healthful routine gets to having cracks in it and my body and soul feel the un-balancing starting to set in.  Instead of starting the day with psalms and meditation, I’m eager to get going, feed the animals, start the coffee, then suddenly I’m showering and driving to work, the day long-since begun and no quiet time to speak of.

How important it is, though, when I know not what a day will bring, to spend a bit of time waiting and asking to be filled up with strength and compassion for the day ahead–though I’m blind to the future, God, the giver of all strength and compassion, is not.  Indeed, God knows exactly what I will need.  God knows what a day will hold and exactly what I will need to survive, thrive, and serve him well in it.  Why not give him a chance to fill me up before it begins?

And I must remember, it’s never too late to start over.  Of course, a new day with its morning light and freshness is a natural, comfortable moment to start over, but it can be anytime of day.  The thief on the cross started over at the very last possible moment, and it still wasn’t too late.

The Three Crosses (Rembrandt) via

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Christ_in_the_garden_of_Gethsemani_and_Christ_on_the_cross_inside_Strasbourg_Cathedralvia

Christ on the Mount of Olives, life-size sculpture in Strasbourg Cathedral, 1498

 This collection of sculpture twists time, featuring a few Jesuses–here seen both kneeling at the Mount and hanging on the cross. This combination artwork of both relief and free-standing sculpture bends expectations in many arenas–time, space, sound, light.  How does Jesus’ Passion bend and stretch our expectations?

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Michelangelo's_Pieta_5450_cut_out

Michaelangelo’s Pieta Housed in St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome, Italy; in Carrera marble.

Contemplate Jesus’ body, the lifelessness communicated in the marble, the way Jesus’ shoulder and its flesh yield to his mother Mary’s hand as she holds her son for the last time.

Jesus is human, suffering and obedient to the point of death, gaunt and spent in the first arms to have comforted him.