March 6, 2017 Comments Off on The Second Station: Jesus Takes Up His Cross
Nobody meets the man’s eyes as he labors with faltering steps.
It’s hot as the morning wears on; most of the people are gone,
Fleeing the stench of the carcasses hanging in butchers stalls.
Each step is worse than the last, as the soldiers with swords force him on,
Bloodied and bruised and breaking, hardly recognizable,
Just another Jew the Romans have sentenced to die.
Blood and dust and sweat mixing with the smell of the meat
Give a sickening odor to the gut-wrenching spectacle.
All the bystanders hold their noses and try to look away;
Brutal execution is nothing they haven’t seen before.
But what a perverse spectacle as he collapses in front of them, and the
Maker of heaven and earth is unable to bear the weight of a tree!
© 2017 Kyle Rader. All rights reserved.
February 26, 2015 Comments Off on The Second Station: Jesus Takes Up His Cross
“If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow me.” (Mark 8:34)
This station, rather than simply being one more way-station on the road to Golgotha, seems to me to be significant in terms of our practice discipleship. Jesus is not simply suffering something that is his own to bear. Rather, he is doing something, that in its obedience and self-denial, he holds up as a model for everyone who is drawn to follow in his footsteps.
Jesus’ crucifixion seems to many observers to be a terrible tragedy, the fate of someone trapped in the wrong place at the wrong time. But I think this robs Jesus of his crucial agency in the sublime and terrible working out of salvation that took place on the cross. In every moment, Jesus chose to meet his fate, however cruel, with open eyes and an open heart. When he takes up his cross, he provides us an example of meeting the violence and hatred that prophetic actions can provoke with sober dignity, conscious choice, and forbearing love.
It is the vocation of his followers to meet hatred with love, to bear undeserved suffering with grace, with the hope that God is still working out the Divine Purpose, even when nothing makes sense.
– The Rev. Gabriel Lamazares