I have a friend who is a really good artist. Kevin has created sculptures that are so life-like that they capture not only the posture of a person, but their very essence. Yesterday, Kevin brought me something. I was out of town so the gift was put in my office awaiting my return. The gift was a crown of thorns.
Easter is just a few weeks off so I am thinking about things like crosses, crowns of thorns and empty tombs. This gift was timely. Kevin had fashioned this life-size crown of thorns out of what looks like brass or copper and then antiqued it to make it look like it has been around for 2,000 years. It must weigh at least a pound. The points of the thorns that surround this woven, vine-like crown are really sharp. In fact, if you pick this crown up the wrong way you will get punctured.
Kevin emailed me today to let me know why he gave this crown to me as a gift. Something he wrote in his emailed touched me in a deep place. He wrote, "I cried while sharpening the thorns, in my own brokenness and the forgiveness I have for past expectations and failures." As I read Kevin's words I imagined the scene. Here is this expert artisan holding a crown he created, sharpening the pointed tips of the thorns and weeping. He was weeping because he was realizing the price Jesus paid for his forgiveness.
As I read Kevin's email I realized that my sin, and yours, sharpened the very crown of thorns Jesus wore during Easter week many years ago. In our striving to be hip and positive in the church today, I think we forget what really happened to Jesus. His scalp was punctured by thorns that really hurt. His hands and feet were punctured by nails that really hurt. His side was punctured by a spear that really hurt. His heart was punctured by our collective sin and that hurt most of all. I think that is what Kevin was crying about when he made the crown of thorns for me.