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 on display at St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church, 2000 Highland Avenue, Rochester NY 14618.
|Jesus took up his cross.|
The place where prisoners were crucified was called Golgotha, or the Place of the Skull. It was outside the city. Jesus picked up his cross to carry it to Golgotha himself.
Jesus did not pick up his cross and carry it for us because we are lovable. He did it to lift the weight of our sins from us and put it on his own shoulders.
It’s one thing to love someone who is good. It’s another thing to love someone who is bad. There are some very unlovable people in this world. Can you pray for them? Be their friend? Forgive them? Love them?
|Simon of Cyrene was forced to carry Jesus’ cross.|
As the soldiers left the palace with Jesus they saw a man named Simon. The soldiers forced Simon to carry the cross for Jesus.
Sometimes God whispers and sometimes God demands. We believe we choose to serve Jesus. But Simon was forced to serve Jesus. When Simon picked up Jesus’ cross, his life was changed forever.
A person from Cyrene is from North Africa. The Bible does not tell us what color Simon was. If color doesn’t matter to God, how much should it matter to us?
|Jesus spoke to the women following him.|
A crowd gathered. They followed Jesus and Simon as they left the city. Some were Jesus’ enemies. Others cried for him. Jesus turned to them and said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children."
There is a story that a woman named Veronica reached out to Jesus and wiped his face with a cool cloth; later that cloth developed a picture of Christ.
It wasn’t the cloth but Veronica herself who was a picture of Christ. She reached out to another person who needed help. Can others see Jesus reflected in us?
Probably the women who wept for him along the road did reach out and offer him water, encouragement, and love. Even in his suffering, though, Jesus understood that they were the ones in need.