Friday, March 30, 2012

The Tenth Station~Jesus is Stripped of His Garments~Nakedness

Not long ago Christ had revealed His glory upon a Mountain. He had gone up with his disciples to Mount Tabor, and there shown them His splendour, clothed in garments of burning snow. Now He has gone up into a mountain again to reveal yet another glory that is His, the glory that He gives to sinful men in the hour that seems to them to be their hour of shame but which, when it is identified with Him stripped naked upon Calvary, is an hour of splendour and redemption.

There in Christ is the sinner who is found out, the lover who is stripped of all pretence, the weak man who is known for what he is, the repentant murderer who pays the price of his sin willingly before the world, the child whose disgrace is known to the mother whom he wanted to make proud of him, the friend who is stripped of all pretence before the friend from whom he longed for respect.

There upon Calvary Christ's love for the world is shown in its nakedness, His love for the sinner in its intensity.

Caryll Houselander, The Way of the Cross

In The Hiding Place Corrie ten Boom writes about the incarceration of her sister, Betsie, and herself in the concentration camp at Ravensbruck. They were Christians, but had been arrested for hiding Jews in their home. Corrie was 51 when this happened and I Betsie was 58. She describes the manner in which they were forced to line up with the other new prisoners for processing. These two middle-aged virgins, not particularly beautiful of body, stripped naked and standing in line, being watched over by callous guards. How humiliating this must have been.

During the time that Corrie spent at Ravensbruck, she underwent a different kind of stripping. Instead of becoming bitter and railing against her circumstances--after all, she had been living a sacrificial life and spending herself for God's chosen, and look where it had gotten her--she allowed the Lord to use this time to strip of her fears and faults. Of course, this didn't happen without some resistance on her part, but in the end, she was able to join her suffering to that of her Lord.

Betsie died in the camp shortly before Corrie was released through a clerical error. Before her death, Betsie used to pray for the guards because she was worried about the damage that their treatment of the prisoners was doing to their souls. She forgave them, and wanted Corrie to do the same. Corrie was horrified. She didn't want to forgive the guards; she wanted to hold on to her hatred. But in the end that was what she did. There is a moving article in Guideposts magazine, telling of Corrie's encounter with a former guard who had been cruel to Betsie and the forgiveness that resulted.

Corrie ten Boom's story is an example of the humiliation of physical stripping, and the pain of that stripping that comes from being stripped of our faults, but CH speaks to something deeper. It is the revelation of our very selves, not evil deeds that we could have avoided, but that which most shames us because it is who we are at the very core of our being. Our only help in the face of this most painful nakedness is that Our Lord has united Himself with us in our weakness, and that He can somehow use it for the redemption of the world.

stripped of Your garments
upon Calvary,
give me the courage
and the humility
to be stripped before the world
of all pretence;
to show myself--
even to that one whom I love
and whose good opinion of me
is vital to my happiness--
just as I am,
stripped of everything
that could hide
the truth of my soul,
the truth of myself, from them.

Give me
Your own courage,
Your humility,
Your independence,
which compelled You,
for love of me,
to stand on that hill of Calvary,
covered in wounds,
without comeliness whereby
we could know You.

Give me the courage
and the dignity and splendour
of Your love,
to live openly,
without pretence,
even when there is that in my life
which shames me.
Give me the one glory
of those who are disgraced
and ashamed before the world:
to be stripped with You,
Jesus Christ my redeemer,
upon Calvary.



  1. This may be the most powerful of the series.

  2. Thank you. That's interesting. Were you at all familiar with that story before?


  3. No, that's the eleventh station.

  4. Was that in response to Maclin?


  5. Huh - I just reacted again because my first comment wasn't showing up, and now not only have I reacted twice, but you've already reacted to my first reaction. Am I just too slow for the computer, or is it too slow for me?