When the kind doctor looked around the circle and said, “Healing happens in community, in circles, around tables,” — I kinda guffawed and rolled my eyes.
I mean, it’s Holy Week and who hasn’t been crucified by Christians?
Who hasn’t mustered up courage to unwrap a bit of their bare heart — only to feel knifed?
Who hasn’t felt ousted by community, felt the community turn into a mob, turn into the judge and jury, felt the community turn into the crowd that pushes you out?
Sometimes the honest feel more intimately acquainted with loneliness than with anyone else.
All our efforts to know more — are really about being known more. What the head knows matters, but how the heart feels known matters more. Who tells you that?
I looked around the women around the circle. Who doesn’t want to be more deeply seen and truly found — and who isn’t deeply afraid of being found out and seen as less than? The thing we want most — to be seen — is the thing we are most afraid of — to be seen and rejected.
It’s Holy Week — ask Jesus.
I sit with that. And let His Truth speak to my deep:
The risk of knowing love — means you have to take the risk of being known — and not loved.
“What if —“ the words kinda burn a bit in my throat, burn a bit like shame, like vulnerability, but I speak them, hoping they can burn down a painful past, burn a way forward. I had turned toward the kind doctor, asked him quietly:
“What if — you don’t feel wanted at the table you’re sitting at?”
You have to name your fears to tame your fears. I don’t blink anything back, just let it come.
And the doctor whispers it quietly, “There is always a table that wants you — if you have enough courage to want to build that table.”
I nodded slowly.
Tables aren’t by chance. Tables are built on purpose.
Community isn’t found. Community is forged.
The woman beside me reaches out and finds my arm and I nod.
You must keep forging community — so that you can keep find healing. Forge community. Find healing.
It is how He made the centre of being:
The healing the soul seeks is found through The Body —- the given body of Christ, and the givenness of the Body of Christ.
I light the ring of candles on Maundy Thursday, maundatam Thursday, Thursday of the new mandate, and it burns in all the dark places, that command that Jesus gives of the Last supper:
“A new command I give you: Love one another…
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34–35)
There is no being known has a disciple if you aren’t known for your love. I can feel the heat from the ring of flames. They call it that too: Covenant Thursday. Before there can be any real resurrection, there is the call to a covenant of Love — to love the broken, like Christ loves our brokenness. How in God’s holy name does anyone keep the covenant to keep on loving?
In the rising heat of the flames, there’s that wooden silhouette of the hunched Christ dragging that carved cross closer to the agony of Calvary.
And I can’t help but lower myself into a chair at the end of the table, because there He is:
He is Love and He is Beauty, just like this.
Beauty is vulnerability. Beauty risks its heart for love.
Christ bent with that cross, He looks like a bruised reed, a smoldering wick, made strong in the givenness of love.
That little cross-bearing figurine, our Cross-bearing Christ, He is irresistible in the flame and — Beauty is irresistible and He is Beauty and there is the irresistibility of vulnerability.
They say that that the Romans lined the roads with crucifixions as a means to intimidate the masses into submission, that in actual fact, crosses were slammed into the ground and the crucified only hung 6 inches to a foot off the ground, so no traveller could avoid facing the sacrificed and exposed.
Stripped entirely naked, Jesus hung on a cross at almost eye level, unprotected, uncovered, unmasked.
Who can look at Him and not feel the burning ache of incomparable beauty? Beauty is love exposed and vulnerable and surrendered and given and cruciform.
And in that moment — I feel fully seen and known. Jesus knows the terror of a bare heart. Jesus knows that healing only happens in community, by giving our wounds to the wounded and meeting the Wounded Healer in the Body of Christ.
And in that moment, I see and fully know:
Beauty is deformed when it’s formed like invulnerability, like superiority.Beauty is deformed when it isn’t cruciform.
The most attractive form is cruciform. The best form to build a table is cruciform. The best way you forge community is to form your life cruciform.
How in God’s holy name does anyone keep the covenant to keep on loving?
Lay your heart down. Lay your bare broken heart down on the table.
Fragility and vulnerability are beauty.
Lay your heart down. Lay your bare heart down on the table.Your vulnerable God stretches His arms out and begs you to live the beauty of vulnerability.
It’s Maundy Thursday and Holy Week and there will be fragile circles and shaky tables and flickering candles and bruised gatherings and broken family and wounded communities.
The way to keep the commandment to love one another is to keep being vulnerable with one another. Love lives given — and the way to keep loving one another is to keep giving our vulnerable hearts to one another.
I try to keep telling myself: Risk being fully known — because it’s the only way to be fully loved.
Accept others’ risk of being fully known —- because this is the only way to fully love.
It’s Holy Week and anyone who’s been crucified by Christians gets to look in the eye of their crucified Lord. The naked God-Man with the nails through His hands knows — He knows the risk of love — and He knows the returns.
The Vulnerable God vulnerably gives Himself — so there’s a returning to our first love.
On Maundy Thursday, Covenant Thursday, I sit with candles and the Cross-bearing Christ and I don’t blink it back.
Jesus sees the most broken parts of our hearts that we are most terrified of being seen — and He keeps His covenant to see us fully— and never leave us, ever.
Because the Vulnerable God was forsaken on the cross — we get to be fully seen with our crosses — and never left, never abandoned, never forsaken. This is the covenant we can know and we can give — so we are known as His.
‘I fully see you — and I will never leave you.’ The broken can covenant this to each other and practice resurrection.
Candles burn —- and there’s a ring of healing light that never leaves but covenants to flame on and on and on, rising higher.
How do you live the beauty of vulnerability?
How do you live seen & known?
How do you live a deeply meaningful and beautiful life?
In sixty vulnerably stories, the tender invitation of The Way of Abundance moves you through your unspoken broken — into the abundant life.