I pulled her into a chair and held her close. Helpless. What do you tell a sixteen-year-old girl whose brother was shot in the street, six times to the head? What sense do you make of violence what takes a seventeen-year-old boy because his friend is in a rival gang? What is left to offer? Only tears, an arm around her shoulders, and hands stroking her hair. And prayer.
But what prayer? What can you ask when a heart is broken beyond recognition? Mine was only a giant heart-sob. And in return, I heard Him:
"I am here. And I know."
When she was limp and emptied, I asked if I could pray for her and her family. And, even in my vicarious pain, all that came out was "thank you".
Thank you, Jesus, that You KNOW. You know what it is to cry over a dead friend. You know what it feels like to die. You know what it feels like to be killed. Her brother was not alone in that moment because You have been there already.
Thank you that You are HERE. You cry with us. You died for both the sins committed by us and the sins committed against us. For both, You writhed in pain, and Your blood soaked wood and earth.
It has been several years since I finished this drawing, but creating it remains one of the most deeply moving experiences of my life. It was a kind of sacrament, really. A profound realizing that I had a part in this. And this fierce, conciliatory, crucified Love is mine. And I am His.
In honor of this Gift, I'd like to make a small one of my own. If you want to be included in a drawing for a print of the "Greater Love" drawing, leave a comment. If you want to let other people know about it, each time you share a link to this post on facebook, twitter, or what-have-ya, you can leave another comment to increase your chances.
The print is 18"x11", unframed, and black-and-white, as the original was done in graphite and charcoal. The print is an archival-quality, professional copy by my friend Tim Kirk. I'd be glad to mail it worldwide to the winner, so if you connect with the drawing and want a chance to have have it, comment away! I'll randomly draw a winner a week from today.
And make space in your time and heart today to ponder the awful lengths to which God went to prove His love for you. For us all.