God takes what is ugly and turns it into something beautiful.
When I first saw the crucifix, sitting among other far superior items on the shelf of random knick-knacks at the thrift store, I noted how ugly and rough it was, and I knew that this was the perfect crucifix for me and my home. I picked it up and felt it, it wasn’t any prettier close up. I even smelled it and it didn’t even smell good. There was nothing redeeming about this crucifix. The truth is that the crucifix is butt-ugly. But the thing is that the crucifixion of Jesus was a very ugly event, and I feel like sometimes I forget the ugliness of it because the crosses we tend to put in churches or around our necks are much prettier and ornamental (and please don’t think I’m arguing against this because I’m not). But the reality is that it was a very ugly event, to take care of a very ugly problem.
The crucifixion of Jesus Christ was dark and ugly, but it is from this ugliness that beauty emerges. Because Jesus was crucified, I can partake of his very body and blood. When I partake of the Eucharist, it’s a picture of how something so ugly can be so beautiful, because as I eat and drink the body and blood of Jesus every week, and it nourishes me spiritually.
I went through an experience Saturday that was horrible and surreal and I couldn’t believe that it happened. It only lasted forty-five minutes but the event shook me so deeply. I was cursed out by a cashier for simply asking if I was in the right line for lay-away. She also tried to get me to fight her, an offer which I declined. I was shaken up so badly by the event and the thing was that I was there to get the suits that I had put on lay-away for my kids’ baptism this coming Sunday. The ugliness of the event in the store hopefully will be overtaken by the beauty of baptism.
I brought the crucifix up to the cashier, who asked me if I was sure I wanted it because, well, it was rough. I told her that I am rough too and that was the reason I wanted this crucifix. I belong to Jesus, but sometimes my language is rough, sometimes my actions are rough, sometimes I’m a very ugly person. I’m certainly not a nice person and I don’t make any pretense to be.
I took the ugly crucifix home, and put it up on the wall in the living room, and it’s not any prettier hanging up than it was on the shelf. But the things that mean the most aren’t always pretty. It is because of darkness that there is light, without the darkness there would be no need for light. The crucifix hasn’t gotten any prettier despite the fact that it’s been hung on the wall in the living room, but I put it there to remind me of the ugly event, the things that happened on Good Friday that ultimately led to the death of Jesus, just to have Sunday morning roll around and Jesus was alive. His death was ugly, but his resurrection from the dead was beautiful.