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Day of the torn curtains

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Day of the torn curtains

Your blood drips to the ground, you stand and silently listen to me – and I mumble trading, counting how much it will cost me your forgiveness and a quiet life. What should I refuse, and what should I leave, so as not to have big problems …

Isengheim Altar, Matthias Grunewald, 16th century

Jesus said: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.

New Testament commandments break hearts. Thoughts, feelings and heads are broken like crystal, and it’s easier to overcome hundreds of commandments-steps before Christ’s times than without tripping over three steps of the commandments of Christ. At once the railing of the law disappeared, and now – three steps into the sky above the greatest abyss.

Thousands and thousands of times in the Bible, people reject God, thousands and thousands of times betrayed in a terrible way. Christ comes and says: the first and foremost commandment: love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind …

Your words, Lord, are impossible, and love for You is impossible – You are too far, You are too withdrawn from our affairs, You are there, and we are here, and what do we have in common?

And, breaking the Old Testament law of obedience and submission, that which somehow restrained people within and within the promise of earthly reward to the righteous and earthly punishment to the apostate, the Lord says: love! Love how I love you. Do you know how I love you?

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.

… I believe, says God, that man can love Me. I believe so unreasonably, so … crazy, so … hopelessly that I am going to the cross. I believe, God says, I believe to the bone crunch when nails are driven into My wrists. I believe to the scorching sun over the cross, to withered lips. Until the dying scream … until death … I believe.

With a powerful hand, all the veils are torn off – and torn apart. You can look into the eyes of the living God. Tell me, man, but was it not more comfortable for you in the Old Testament? Not stained with the blood of your God?

New Testament – put your hand in the hand of God. Put and startle, touching the bleeding wound.

Start and look into his eyes. Burn yourself with a boiling mixture of love and crazy hopes of reciprocity.

How painful the New Testament is.

Because – what conscience does His hope not twist with a painful knot? His non-confidence. No-desire triumphantly come and take.

“I love you so crazy,” says the Lord. “So crazy that I leave the choice – it's yours.”

And the insecurity of His outstretched hand is more painful than a slap in the face, and the shortest words: “I will not judge if someone does not believe in Me” is worse than promises of punishment. Because you have to make a choice yourself: He no longer insists. The time of the rigid, sometimes cruel framework of the Old Testament has ended. Now everyone decides for himself, and He, having passed the path to Calvary under the cross, does not punish the choice not in His favor. He only hopes that someone will come to Him.

Give, give us the Old Testament! Give Him far and formidable, His – punishing and at war with His people. Give the commandments of obedience and punishment for them. They are understandable. May You come and die and rise again, but I want to live in the Old Testament, where I must obey, not love. A world built on obedience is simple and understandable.

Because – if I am careful in life and the commandments, I will be screened from You by my righteousness. Do not look – do not look at me !!! – With your impossible loving eyes, look here: here is a list of my good deeds, here is my alms, here is my decency, here are my donations to Your temples, here are my posts, here are my Saturdays …

Do not look at me, I do not want to understand that you do not need all this – that you need only my love. Let's sue, Lord, I do not want Your mercy and love, I do not want Your sacrifice – I do not want You, because I do not want to give myself back. Give me the Old Testament, where You punished for sin and rewarded for the truth.

After the scourge, after the Cross – let's bargain with you, Lord. Do not lean towards me – after the crown of thorns from Your forehead, Your blood drops onto me. After renunciations and general laughter, after loud slaps in the face – I’ll spit at your feet too. You will endure … You endured so much …

No, let there be a deal again – I repent, redeem and apologize to you, You forgive me. I don’t need all of You, I don’t need the cleansing of shame, the happiness of mutual love with You — but the confidence that everything will be fine with me in any case. Your kingdom is for me. Again and again – I want Your gifts, and not Yourselves. That which is from Thee – and not Thee. Your sacrifice is not enough for me, Your blood is not enough for me – I want to enjoy Your gifts and only so will I accept You. Without Your gifts I need neither Your sacrifice nor Your love.

Your blood drips to the ground, you stand and silently listen to me – and I mumble trading, counting how much it will cost me your forgiveness and a quiet life. What should I refuse, and what should I leave, so as not to have big problems later … I don’t accept forgiveness or love from you, Lord. Lower Your outstretched hand, lower all-loving eyes. Hide Your wounds, eclipses and memory of them from me. Worn the crown of thorns – You can give everything. But how terrible it is to admit to yourself that you really do not need anything but You.

Crucified on the cross – how to ask you for something other than yourself?
Ask for the Kingdom of Heaven, you said, and the rest will follow you. We translated it as "give us everything and more." “We expect great and rich mercies from You.” Don’t delay it.

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