Communion of the Rejected
Isaiah 53: 3
3 He was despised and rejected by others;
a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity;
and as one from whom others hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him of no account.
Few experiences have the capacity to hurt like that of rejection. Rejection hurts horribly. It can happen in the playground when a child is the last to be picked for a team. It is felt when we are stood up by a date, repeatedly turned down in applying for work, passed over for promotion, scorned by others for who we are and what we believe. Most painful of all is rejection experienced from those who are close to us and whom we love. Such rejections can dictate and embitter our whole approach to living.
On Good Friday, of all days, we remember that the greatest example of rejection the world has known is that of Jesus. ‘What was the life of Christ but a perpetual humiliation?’ asked St Vincent de Paul. This came to its excruciating climax in the events of Holy Week. Betrayed by one of his followers, and denied by one who had sworn undying loyalty (see John 18: 1-18), on the cross he experienced the desolating sense of being rejected by God himself, crying out in the words of Psalm 22: 1. It was as if every human experience of rejection was concentrated in that moment. ‘Upon the cross of suffering Jesus bore every pain on behalf of Adam’s seed,’ said St Kevin of Glendalough.
Over the centuries, disciples of Jesus have often known the fellowship of Christ’s own suffering, not least in the experience of hostility and persecution for his sake. The rejected Christ stands with all who endure this desolating pain and hurt. And at his cross we find the forgiveness we need and the assurance that life and hope and love – not rejection - will have the final word.
Your cry of desolation on the cross both humbles us and gives us hope that in the Communion of the Rejected our deep hurts too may be transformed.
Thank you that you understand and that you walk side by side with all who trust you, through every dark experience of life. Help us to forgive, as we have been forgiven, to pray as Jesus did for those who reject us, and to show love and mercy for his sake.
Lent Legacy 2021 Action
Day Thirty Nine
Thank God for those who serve others.
Alternative - Say "thank you" to those who serve you. The shop assistant, the bus driver, the waitress, etc