Tuesday, April 5, 2011
The Eighth Station--The Daughters of Jerusalem.
We shuffle along with the others in the group. The Priest has stopped by every station and read the holy words. Now we look up and see the figures of the women weeping for the suffering Jesus. There are only two occasions of the fourteen stations where Jesus, on the way to the cross, addresses someone. He has already spoken to his mother in the fourth station. Now he speaks to the daughters of Jerusalem. “Daughters, do not weep for me. Weep for yourselves and your children.”
It is no wonder that the only words at Calvary were spoken to women. Baptist preacher Randall Lolley once pointed out that the women “were last at the cross and first at the tomb.” Take the women out of the story it would be smaller, more constricted and far different than we find it today. Why along the road, the via dolorosa there would be no fourth or eighth station. Where would the world be without the Elizabeth’s and the Anna's and the Mary's and the woman with a sordid past they threw at his feet? Or that woman at washed his feet with her hair. No man would do that. And then there was Mary and Martha and, as Mark puts it, “the other women.”
Standing there looking up at the daughters of Jerusalem we know those other women, don’t we? In my first church Rosa Claire came almost every day to check on the baby. In another place Frances and Beulah would keep our little girl and they loved her as much as we did. In yet another church Margie, the nun, loved our little red-headed boy into learning and discovering wonder. And dear Edwina would come by the office to let me know she was praying for us. Liz, later would call and bring her macaroni and cheese casseroles and reach out, like those other daughters to the hurting. Becky, in a hard place held our hands up and kept us going. And Betty, in her quiet way helped a whole community remember the poor and dispossessed. I have my list—but you have yours.
Those daughters of Jerusalem are those who work and help and reach out and work miracles that no man could ever do. No wonder Jesus spoke twice on that hard road to them. Jesus told them not to weep for him but for themselves and for their children. Did his understanding of weeping mean more than shedding tears? Surely.
And so we stand looking up at this Eighth station. It is a word for the old bag lady rummaging in the garbage can behind the store. And in that cluster I think I see that single mother of three who has been up since six at McDonald’s serving coffee and sausage biscuits. And maybe there also are all those in Egypt and Rwanda and Libya raped and discarded. And perhaps we might add the women at Wal Mart. And so maybe we are to turn away from this station to move beyond the tears to console, to make life better—to care and to do. Thank God for all the daughters of Jerusalem who have made Jesus walk and ours much better because of their tears and care.
(You might want to read and weep at the newspaper account of the abused Libyan woman that dared to speak out.)