Shield Cassidy, imprisoned herself and subject to horrific treatment writes, “In the traditional Stations of the Cross we have the scene where Jesus is stripped of his garments prior to being scourged. We see him depicted in pious art, a sad, pale figure clad modestly in loincloth or towel, standing humbly before his captors, not unlike the demonstration photographs of patients in medical textbooks, stripped to display the signs of their disease.
But the stripping that happens as an aid to interrogation is not quite like that. There is no loincloth to protect the modesty but a violent insistence on total nakedness so that vulnerability is maximised. Those who work with victims of torture speak of the deliberate perversion of the relationship of intimacy. It is no accident that people are stripped naked, that they are genitally abused, humiliated and raped, for this constitutes the greatest humiliation that one human being can inflict upon another.
And yet, it is possible, after a while to transcend the shame of vulnerability, to regain an equilibrium and inner certainty that one’s personhood and dignity lie beyond mere externals and are therefore unassailable.”
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” Matthew 5:11
On corner there of every street
Sits humankind’s poor, deplete
Bereft of place, of hope, of life
Where hour by hour grinds on their strife.
Stripped of place, of dignity, aim
Their tortured lives our endless shame.
Yet there midst gutters murky mess
I faintly see your there to bless.
It is with shame that I would walk
Across the road, dare not to talk
Or reach my hand e’en gently touch
And hear again love’s, “for of such”.
By hurtful bruise you bore our shame;
Love’s holy purpose, sacred aim.
Yet I am weak to follow on
And to your gracious side be drawn.
Lord, in my weakness come forgive
Enable me your life to live.
Dirty my hands that reach that feel
Others needs, as there I kneel.
© 2022 Paul Collings
Lord, we are afraid, —
' we are afraid of you,
of what you may ask.
We yearn for your coming,
for your love, for your passion,
but we are afraid.
We cling to the familiar,
to people and things,
terrified of trading
the security of the known,
for a future beyond imagining.
Give us your courage
to say ‘Yes’.