Shouting Stones: The Centurion at the Cross

The centurion pushes this lesson even further, suggesting the real invitation to human fullness requires not only breaking the insider drive, but developing capacities to be at the inside-outsider line, valuing the truths of faith while bearing up under the mockery of the mob. How difficult it is to stand at that line, after all, being both inside and outside, depending upon perspective. We see the insider-drive early and often. Elementary school, junior high, and high school show multiple, ephemeral yet deadly real "insider-groups" that create meaning for some kids while pushing other kids on the "outside" up to (and over) the brink of suicide. Think of all the recent attention to "anti-bully" efforts in schools and the cultural phenomenon of Glee that draws both satirical and poignant attention to the power of such battles. Speaking as an American citizen, I recognize the global identity that comes with global power (regardless of whether I want it or not). What is it like to profess solidarity with the outsider, the poor, the grieving? Difficult, in other ways.

If Mark's centurion is a shouting stone this season, I think he declares Lent as an entire season of living that line, felt especially strongly as we stand at the foot of the cross, when Jesus breathes his last. Intentional devotion has shaped us to know how clearly we belong in our faith circles, even as these actions may also highlight how strange sacrificial devotion is in our world today. Devotion in contexts in the United States highlights how powerful and free even our poorest are to profess faith, to live in devotion. May we learn to stand in the in-between, learning our way forward on behalf of all.

3/23/2011 4:00:00 AM
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