Wholeness in the Midst of Brokenness – Br. Jim Woodrum

Br. Jim Woodrum

Luke 23:32-34; 39-43

During Lent, we dedicate a considerable amount of time reflecting on our relationships with God and each other, focusing on concepts like repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Repentance involves recognizing that we’ve deviated from God’s intended path for us and deciding to change direction (the Greek term for ‘repent’ is metanoia, meaning “a transformative change of heart”). Forgiveness entails releasing resentment or even the demand for compensation for harm caused. Reconciliation is about reuniting or coming together again after a separation. Despite the positive nature of these concepts, achieving them can be challenging. This difficulty often stems from a place of brokenness, encompassing damaged lives, relationships, expectations, and hearts.

This evening is the last installment of our preaching series “In the Midst,” which endeavors to help us know and experience Jesus’ presence in the midst of all that challenges and even troubles us. The theme of tonight’s sermon is “Wholeness in the Midst of Brokenness.” I’ve chosen to explore this concept from the vantage point of Jesus’ crucifixion in the gospel of Luke.

To begin, it is important to recall just what crucifixion was in first century Palestine. Crucifixion was a method of torture and execution used by the Roman empire against those they deemed criminals or enemies of the emperor. Victims were nailed to a cross made of wooden beams and suspended. This suspension made breathing difficult unless the victims attempted to pull themselves up by their wrists while pushing with their ankles, a task they couldn’t sustain for long due to the pain caused by nails driven through their joints. Technically, crucifixion was execution by asphyxiation which could last hours. When the victim was believed to be dead, the executioner would confirm this by breaking the legs of the remaining corpse hanging from the beams. Crucifixions were public events usually held just outside the city gate. They were intended to traumatize not only the victims but also those who witnessed the spectacle on their way into or out of town. Read More