April 3, 2017 Comments Off on The Tenth Station: Jesus Is Stripped of His Garments
Matthew Chapter 27 Verse 28: They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him,
There was little dignity in Jesus’s death. He was at the mercy (or lack) of others. The agents of his death were cruel. He had no control. His very clothes were taken from him. He was made to wear a strange garment.
This was like almost all deaths I have seen. As a person dies they lose the various outer layers of their lives, self-reliance, deciding when to eat, deciding what to eat, deciding what to wear, control of bodily functions and cognition. It is not pretty. It is not dignified.
But there also can be grace in dying. That grace does not emanate solely from the dying person but in large part from those around her. The gathering of love around the dying is a breath of the eternal, because it echoes back the love that the person shared with others in their life, and the love around the dying also echoes into the future as a bright coal of memory of those who were there.
While Jesus had cruelty in his death, he also had loved ones there. He also expressed the ultimate love in his very act of dying and his resurrection.
So, don’t expect much dignity in death. But there can be love, grace and hope.
– Bruce Goerlich
March 14, 2016 Comments Off on The Tenth Station: Jesus Is Stripped of His Garments
On the Thursday after Ash Wednesday, in the late afternoon, I slipped into the deserted church to contemplate this station in a private, silent atmosphere. Since then, I’ve looked at the station from every angle, from various distances , and even at a printout that I’ve kept on my computer desk for all of Lent. I’ve even gone into other churches to look at other interpretations of the station. Some versions give equal or even more prominence to the soldier who did the stripping. What has struck me from the beginning about our version is that sometimes I can’t even see the soldier, and am not even sure he is there, depending on my vantage point. Other times I clearly see his outline. But always, it is the artist’s skeletal Jesus that captures my attention, and that is as it should be. It is as if Jesus has been stripped not only of his garments, but has begun to be stripped of the flesh of his humanity, that humanity that will shortly be crucified, the necessary prerequisite to the Resurrection, the full manifestation of Jesus’s divinity. Fully God and fully human, Jesus is being readied for what is to be played out according to prophecy and plan. It seems to me so right that it is a Jesus not as he is typically depicted (in most versions, Jesus stands looking rather forlorn while the soldier stands holding the garments, or in some versions, pulling on the garments) that captivates the viewer’s attention in this station. We can’t look away.
What we can do is meditate on what it means to be stripped down to the bare essentials of our being. Do we share in Jesus’s humanity when this happens? When is it that we are stripped of the garments, real and symbolic, that contribute to our sense of self? Think of examples in your own life and in our common lives together. Think of the stripping of the altar on Maundy Thursday. Think, for the less than two weeks that remain of Lent, about what it means to get to the bare essentials. Or, if you prefer, think about the fate of these garments that were divided among the soldiers at the foot of the cross. Lloyd C. Douglas did that when he based an entire novel on the way the life of the man who won the tunic in the casting of lots changed afterwards (The Robe, 1942; film of the same name, 1953). There are so many possibilities opened up by contemplating this Station of the Cross that an entire Lenten practice could be based upon it if one wanted to pare Lenten practice down to just one 40-day meditation. I’m almost reluctant to retire the reproduction from my computer table, so accustomed have I become to looking at it daily before morning prayer. I owe the artist a debt of gratitude.
– Julia Alberino