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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Stations of the Cross (2 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 on display at St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church, 2000 Highland Avenue, Rochester NY 14618.

Jesus was beaten.
"This man is innocent," said Pilate. "He has done nothing to deserve death. I will have him beaten and released." Pilate had his soldiers whip Jesus.

Pilate went out from his palace. "You have a custom of having a prisoner released for Passover. Should it be Jesus or Barrabas?" The crowd chose Barrabas.

"Then what should I do with Jesus?" he asked them.

"Crucify him!" they answered. 

Pilate hoped that by beating Jesus, he could satisfy the crowd and save Jesus from dying. It didn’t work. It was the first of many sufferings Jesus bore that day.

We all suffer—some of us as children, some as adults. Sadly, some suffer their whole lives. 

Sometimes we can see when people suffer. Other times, it is hidden.

When we reach out to those who suffer, we reach out to Jesus himself.

Jesus was mocked.
The soldiers dressed Jesus in a crown of thorns and a purple robe. They hit him on the face, saying "Hail, King of the Jews!"

Pilate did not want to kill Jesus. "Why won’t you answer me so I can let you go?" he asked Jesus. 

"Don’t you realize I have the power to have you killed?"

"You have no power except that which comes from God," Jesus answered.

What could Jesus have said that would have changed the mind of the crowd? Their hearts were set against the truth.

There are times when what we do is far more important than what we say. We don’t just spread the good news by talking about Jesus. We also spread it by doing good things in Jesus’ name.

Jesus was condemned.
Pilate led Jesus outside to the judge’s bench. He said to the council, "Here is your King!"

"Crucify him!" they answered.

"Shall I crucify your king?" he asked.

"We have no king but the emperor," said the priests.

So Pilate handed Jesus over to be crucified.

Pilate was a smart man. He did not want to kill Jesus. He could have saved Jesus. But he did not stand up to the crowd when he knew they were wrong.

It is easy to do the right thing when people around you agree with you. It is hard when other people think you are wrong. Most of us worry about what our friends think. But public opinion will never tell you if something is right or wrong.

Let me know if you’re interested in painting with me on the Schoodic Peninsula in beautiful Acadia National Park in 2015 or Rochester at any time. Click here for more information on my Maine workshops! Download a brochure here.

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