Drinking from the Cup
We are in exile. In this fallen world full of pain and suffering, we are in exile. As C.S. Lewis explains it
If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.
Another world.This is the promise Jesus made, that we will be born again, not into this world, but a perfect one. Born in sin, but soon to be reborn in a different world. We suffer now, but not for long. However, people try to run away from suffering. They look to Jesus as the way to avoid suffering in this world.
Yet Jesus did not come to banish suffering. But rather, he fully embraced it. Pain and suffering are not things that impose themselves on our lives, but are a part of life itself. Jesus tells us to “deny ourselves and take up the cross.” But somehow, this has been translated to “glorify yourself and wear a cross around your neck.” Why wear a cross on your chest if you don’t bear one on your back?
To our minds though it makes no sense to embrace the Passion. It strikes us as absurd to stare into the eyes of our own suffering, and embrace our anguish. Is the train that leads us to this other world really one of inescapable pain? It scares us to think that this suffering is a part of us. That it is profoundly real, and is eating away at our humanity and must be brought to light. The idea that in order to take up our cross, we must open ourselves to this sickness, become overcome by its crushing force, and then embrace the aftermath of the devastation, is not pleasing to most people. We ask for healing, but we don’t embrace the pain.
Perhaps the only way for true healing is to hold the cup of suffering high above your head, and let the rain fill it to the brim. Then, instead of dropping the cup and making a puddle of pain on the ground beneath your feet where the pain can be picked up and thrown at you again, you grasp the cup with two hands, bring it to your lips and gulp it down.