Way of the Cross

 

 

 

 

way of the cross

 

 

 

 

 

  

Living everyday dying

 

 

into eternal life

 

 

A little note:

Within this beautiful place

the sacred space of God’s presence,

a miniscule expression of God’s wonder

meanders ‘the Way of the Cross’ (Via Dolorosa)

            in fact - the reality of nature itself

            in the mystery of living, dying and resurrection.

 

We, God’s pilgrims graced with time to ponder

the glory and pain of Truth

risk to encounter

the wonder of the fragility of life

the wonder of the fragility of my life

the wonder of the fragility of Christ’s life.

Our lives are like the grass of the fields -

here today and gone tomorrow.

 

Would our short span of life

witness to life lived to the full?

 

Prayer:

Jesus, the Christ

you, who are the Word

flowing from the depth of God,

your agony in the garden was

not so much about the

the upcoming persecution and the Cross

as it was about

the horror of your purity and immense love

facing the domain of the darkness of evil.

For love of me, for humanity you opened yourself

to embrace into your very being

the crushing weight of our sin

that we may celebrate fullness of life.

You knew that this act of love demanded the cross,

just as you knew that this outpouring of yourself

will in ages to come be forgotten, ignored, even jeered at

and that the emptiness of time past would be our suffering today still.

 

Yet with all this insight you remained true to your call -

to make known the love of God, even if it cost you your life.

How misguided our choices in trying to fill the void within - that deep longing for you.

We focus on the riches of the world and miss the richness of your love.

 

Christ, may our reflection of your journey of love for us

open our eyes to the longing you and I have for each other. 

Fill our hearts and lives with a conscious and deep

experience of you.

 

 

 

                                                                                         


                                    

 

1. Jesus, Tree of Life, condemned to death on a tree.

  

 

 

 

 

 

Who is this man, Pilate,

who assumes power to condemn to death Christ,

Word of God - who is God -

through whom and in whom

all was created?  (Pause)

Who is this man Jesus, who

though Author and Source of all life,

allows this verdict of crucifiction.

Who is this man Christ

who stands bound, humble and silent

before humanity, before you and me,

stands there judged and condemned

because he risked to love without

counting the cost,

because he dared to challenge the status quo,

because he emptied himself to love us - always

even to the very abyss of death? (Pause)    

Who ARE we, that we should be

the centre of such love?

 

Pause long enough to enter the questions, to touch within your heart the mystery of God’s abundance.

 

 


 

 

2. Jesus takes up his cross.

 

 

 

 

 

  

To Pilate’s statement

‘I have power over you’, Jesus’ quietly responds:

‘you have no power over me.

Can we begin to understand this proclamation -

‘You have no power over me’?

Through this statement Jesus reinforces the unimaginable.

His unconditional love for me states:

I freely embrace this enforced cross,

not only the one of wood,

but your cross too and that of the world.

Hear me: I not only carry the cross,

I embrace it and all it stands for -

all the pain, the sin and the darkness of evil

that you may know deeply

my liberating peace;

my true freedom

my joy of living, the fruit of Eternal Life

flowing from my love, .........flowing from your love.

 

 


 

 

3.         Jesus falls for the first time.

 

 

See yourself as one of the crowd.

You are very near Jesus

and see easily his broken body

Relentlessly the anger of the mob strain forward

to see ……. what ……..?

The execution of justice?

The satisfaction of some inner lust for cruelty,

or maybe there are some who wanted to help

this man condemned to death because they feared him.

As one of the crowd

you too are being pushed and jostled about

forced into a direction you have no desire to go.

But you are there,

you see Jesus, you see him stumble

and then you see the Son of God – fall.

Your heart feels …… What?

Shock? …….. Guilt? …….Pain?….Sadness? Sorrow ……????

You are there, the scene is real

And your response?

What does your heart demand from you?

 

 


 

 

4.         Jesus meets his Mother

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Mary, a sword shall pierce your soul.’

 

Can one even begin  to perceive this encounter,

the vulnerability, the helplessness

the unutterable pain flowing like a searing fire

between mother and son?

Unable to comfort,

unable to save each other

in this moment of letting go,

in this moment of dying,

in this moment as they reach deeply into the soul of the other.

Together they suffer our blindness,

our pride, our arrogance.

Together they follow the light of hope

that this sacrifice of love

   - the giving up of a precious son,

   - the giving up of Life itself -

WILL transform and heal our world

longing for freedom and transparent living.

 

Recall a vulnerable moment in your life.  Share this with Christ

 

 


 

 

5.         Simon helps carry the cross

 

 

 

 

Simon of Cyrene finds himself

caught up in a crowd

snaking its way up to Golgotha,

a crowd mocking, pushing, lost in the seething anger

of Scribes and Pharisees.

He sees a man carrying a cross,

a man about to collapse.

His heart stirred with compassion reaches out.

Suddenly pushed he lunges forward

and lands at the feet of Christ.

Eyes meet -

Simon spell bound beholds the depth of Christ -

pure light, holy innocence,

a heart on fire with love, for him, for the world.

 

Humbled, Simon shoulders the cross of Jesus,

whom he recognizes as a man in this world, but not of this world.

In awe he walks, a changed man, on the path of liberation

to a life of eternal salvation.

 

Whose holy cross are you shouldering at the moment?

 

 


 

 

6.         Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

 

 

 

 

 

In and amongst the crowd

another woman beholds, with great sorrow

the agony of the Son of God,

struggling under our cross,

blinded by sweat and grime,

by blood dripping from piercing thorns.

Emboldened by love,

risking the anger of frenzied mob

she steps up to Christ.

 

Time stands still and witnesses

a tiny moment of deep encounter,

a gentle touch with refreshing cloth

and gratitude spills over in an image -

traveling down the centuries -

the cloth of Turin,

One small act of kindness

graced with abundance.

 

Take a few moments:

You stand before Jesus.

Open yourself to him as you gently

wipe his bruised face and heart.

 

 


 

           

7.         Jesus falls the second time  

 

 

 

 

 

  

Where is Simon of Cyrene?

Desperately following the man who touched his heart with life?

Did the Synagogue leaders In the anger and anxiety

Refuse Christ any further human help?

We do not know  but Jesus lies prostrate a second time.

I this a reminder -

that the seed must fall into the ground

needs to break open

to shoot forth the life it holds?

 

To stumble and fall – is to lose control, is to lose face

is to experience humiliation.

Is this what we see as we gaze at Jesus lying in the grit.

I doubt it very much.

Though his body is weak, though he is tired and thirsty,

though the top of Golgotha is a vision far away,

Jesus permeated and fired by his mission,

  ‘Let my people go – let my people know my love’,

gets up and struggles ahead

in spite of his discomfort, in spite of his pain.

 

A natural part of life is to fall. 

However, it is the getting up that sprouts new life.

 

 


 

 

8.         Jesus meets the women.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

A heart rendering cry spanning across the ages.

Desolation in the grip of abandonment.

Yet, along this journey to Golgotha

Jesus encounters angels in Gethsemane,

even Pontius Pilate attempts to save him.

He encounters Veronica, Mary his mother, Simon

and now the women.

Their hearts ache at the sight of him,

long to hold him to their bosom -

to comfort, to console.

Yet, Jesus, focused as usual, on the eternal horizon

sees this very moment as one of redemption,

but he sees also in this very act of Self outpouring

the future tumult and misery

of a world intent on its own destruction.

So why this sacrifice?

Is this not a futile act of a dreamer

this pilgrimage to Golgotha?

No, his love, breaking all barriers, pleads of the women -

accept my gift of Salvation,

pour yourselves out in prayer and service

storm the heavens with your love,

to your bosom embrace the lost,

those trapped in and blinded by deceit and  darkness.

Become my partner and walk the journey of dying into life.

 

 


 

 

9.         Jesus falls the third time

 

 

Jesus, son of man and son of God falls,

not once, not twice

but three times.

We acclaim a God of power, a God of might,

omniscient, everlasting, King of peace.

But have we ever considered

the weakness of God?

God leaves his glory, is born in a stable;

has nowhere to lay his head;

he becomes a piece of bread

a chalice of wine;

he submits himself to the power

of synagogue leaders,

seems helpless when scourged and spat upon

he is ridiculed and now lies in the dust.

Where the power now, where the might?

Ah! With God it lies in the washing of feet -

a pouring out of Self that we may know fullness.

God becomes ‘weak’ with love

when it comes to his people and his deepest desire,

to be one with His beloved..

Ponder for a moment the gratuitousness of our magnificent God,

for you and me - for all of humanity.

 

 


 

 

10.       Jesus stripped of his garments

 

 

 

 

 

 

For us, the created,

the insignificant, a grain of sand

you allowed yourself, Word of God

to become weak and vulnerable,

stripped of all your power and might.

stripped of respect and dignity

stripped of your be-ing and your truth,

stripped of your credibility, your person.

Not only over 2 000 years ago, but today.

Not only by the then synagogue leaders

but by each of us.

For us, our God stands naked - exposed and defenseless,

regarded as a criminal, rejected and despised -

all alone.

No sign of God’s power here, no pomp and glory,

no exhibition of self-pity,

only simplicity and humility born upon the power of his dream

that all may be one in him.

 

Again this begs the question:

Who are we that God should be so mindful of us,

care so much for us, make us little less than a God?

Who are we?

 

 


 

 

11.       Jesus is nailed to the cross

 

 

 

 

  

Jesus, our Way, our Truth and our Life,

nailed to a tree.

How absurd, how stupendous the fact –

our little minds, our hearts so blind, so blind.

We who fear change, we who fear transparent living,

We who fear true liberty, we who fear the journey to fullness

In the embrace of self-emptying, rise up and short – ‘crucify him’

Crucify this man Jesus, whose very life radiates

That which we most deeply long for,

yet that which we most fear.

What is our deepest longing?

Peace, joy, unity, contentment, friendship, communion –

a deep sense of wholeness?

All beautiful and ours to claim.

So why the fear?

I am called to BE the very thing I so deeply long for.

 

Little do we comprehend

that the very attempt to annihilate Life

becomes for us our deepest moment of mercy and grace,

a gateway to celebrate forever

our Way, our Truth and our Life.

 

 


 

 

12.       Jesus dies on the cross

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus, the man

though Son of God,

nears his end.

Darkened clouds come storming in,

thunder and lightning lash out -

how can this be?

This is the Creator they nailed to the tree.

How can God ................?

How can humanity ..................?

How can Jesus still pray:

‘Father forgive them, they do not know what they are doing’

These words spoken

a gift flowing through all time

Offering then and always

forgiveness, healing, unity and wholeness,

today and every conceivable moment

‘It is accomplished

Into your hands I commend my spirit’.

A profound stillness pervades.

 

Jesus whispers with deep affection:

‘into your hands I commend myself’,

I offer you myself, I am yours.

Do I reject.  Do I embrace?

 

 


 

 

13.       Jesus is taken down from the cross

 

 

 

 

‘It is accomplished’.

Love had died that Life may reign.

Where in all history

has such total, outpouring

graced the earth?

Cosmic love

flowing eternally through God the Son -

now dead and wrapped in Mary’s arms

 a love piercing the depth of her heart.

Mary ponders with acquiescence,

the mystery of love received

only to be poured out;

the Source of life, succumbing to death

only that dawn may celebrate newness of BE-ing;

the mystery of motherhood

only to be stretched to embrace the world,

in the same deep and generous abandonment

as her son, cradled on her lap.

 

Will we, the mothers and fathers

       the brothers and sisters of Christ,

join Mary and Christ in loving the world into Life?

 

 


 

 

14.       Jesus is laid in the tomb

 

 

 

 

 

It’s time.

Time to enter the tomb

the place of deep stillness - solitude

to ponder:

the who of this man lying on a slate of stone;

the death of this God man who surrendered all

loving us unto death;

the mystery of Love

reaching from time immemorial to time eternal

yearning, longing, inviting us,

- despite and maybe because of our

sinfulness and brokenness-

into his warm, forgiving and intimate embrace;

to ponder how my life today

continues to ‘pierce the side of Christ’;

to ponder how my life today

heals the body of Christ;

to ponder, to breathe the prayer of Christ

‘For this I came into the world,

that all may be one’.

 

‘Father, may they be one in us

as you are in me and I am in You’.

 

 


 

 

15.       Jesus is raised from the dead

 

 

 

 

  

No tomb, no claw of death, no power or principality

can hold Life in its grip.

Death a brief respite - a gentle dance

from what was to what IS.

RESURRECTION - celebration of moving from

 darkness into Light;

 self centredness into Communion;

 fragmentation into wholeness;

 violence into well-being;

 emptiness into a world

  where joy, laughter and peace;

  justice and truth

 rejoice in a never ending

 song of praise and wonder,

a state of be-ing

reserved not for some distant future

but a reality to be lived now,

in every self- emptying moment of our lives.                                 

This is God’s offer of grace and mercy to us.

 

Are we the living dead

or do we live our dying into life?

 

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