Ah, Valentine’s Day. Remember when romantic rejection – somebody didn’t “like” you – felt like a fatal injury? I guess I’m getting old enough to look back and… OK, not laugh, but not cringe with as much gravity. “Can’t we just be friends?” is funny now; it used to be injurious to my soul.
Rejection. I prayed Psalm 71 this morning and the word came to mind.
For you are my hope, O LORD God, my confidence since I was young. I have been sustained by you ever since I was born; from my mother’s womb you have been my strength; my praise shall be always of you. I have become a portent to many; but you are my refuge and my strength. (Verses 5-7)
The Psalms, according to Jesus himself, point to him. With that understanding, these verses are so painful; the eternal Son who dwelt in eternal glory spent his 33-ish years from conception to crucifixion on the bad end of rejection. His fidelity to his divine nature and mission were things the world wanted to keep at arm’s length, to say the least.
The Prophets saw it coming,
He was despised and rejected by others;
a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity;
and as one from whom others hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him of no account. (Isaiah 53:3 NRSV)
The Evangelists recorded the fulfillment,
He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. (John 1:10-11)
Wow, at least those we court try to let us down easy. They offer a cool (in temperature, not social standing) friendship. Jesus gave his heart and got the cross.
Makes today’s shenanigans seem a bit less urgent, I hope.