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Monday, March 30, 2015

Stations of the Cross (1 of 5)

This week I am running a series of Stations of the Cross. They were completed during a deadly year, one in which I was being treated for an advanced cancer. For this reason—and because I was traversing new territory for myself—they’re uneven. But their power comes from the underlying story.

The language is simple, meant to be accessible to a child.

The originals are owned by St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church, 2000 Highland Avenue, Rochester NY 14618, and are traditionally displayed during Holy Week.

The night Jesus was arrested.
On the night Jesus was arrested, he was brought to the house of Caiaphas, the high priest. Caiaphas and his council were looking for a reason to put Jesus to death.

Caiaphas was afraid of Jesus. He did not want to give Jesus a fair trial. He told his council, "It is better for you to have one man die than to have the whole nation destroyed."

"Are you the Messiah?" Caiaphas asked Jesus.

"You have said so," Jesus answered.

"Why do we need witnesses?" Caiaphas asked the council. "You heard him! What is your verdict?"

"Death!" the council responded.

They spat in Jesus’ face, hit him and insulted him.

The priests brought Jesus to Pilate.
The members of the council took Jesus to the Roman governor, Pilate. They were careful to stop at the gates of Pilate’s palace. They did not want to go into a place where people were hurt. If they did, they would no longer be clean and they could not eat their Passover meal.

"Take him yourself and judge him by your laws," said Pilate. But the council could not have Jesus crucified, which is what they wanted.

The high priests carefully followed the law that God gave them. But they used the law to get what they wanted, not what God wanted. We choose how we use our gifts from God—whether for good or evil, to help others or to help just ourselves.

Pilate enthroned.
Pilate asked Jesus, "Are you the King of the Jews?"

"My kingdom is not of this world," said Jesus. "If it were, my followers would be fighting to save me."

Jesus did not wear a golden crown or command armies. He wore a crown of thorns and knew his power was in God.

When we follow Christ, our power comes from God and no one can see our riches.


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