--Romans 8. 32
The story dates back to medieval times. It was the season of Lent. The old priest announced that morning that in the evening service he would preach about the Cross. So that evening, here and there, from different roads the people came. Some were very old, hardly able to walk. Some came holding the hands of their little children. Some came alone. And as the people gathered and the darkness began to descend in the little church, someone came forward and lit the candles on the altar. In a few minutes the old priest came forward and took one of the candles. He walked up the steps, behind the altar where the crucified hung. Tiptoeing he lifted the candle high until you could see the crown of thorns and Jesus’ face. And after a long time, the priest moved the candle to the hands, first one hand and then the other. Light shone on the pierced hands. Then the priest moved the candle to the Lord’s wounded side. After that he stooped low and illuminated the nailed feet of the Lord Jesus. Nothing was said. After a long time—the priest blew out the candle and the people left the church silent and weeping. They had seen a sermon and it touched them all.
As we pilgrims move now to the Seventh station of the Cross—Jesus falls for a second time. Look closely and you may just see yourself. For the Incarnated Jesus in this fall stands with any of us who have suffered, who have known defeat, who have fought and lost. And who among us has not known brokenness? In marriage, in family, in personal life—sometimes in some job. Maybe looking back feeling that so much that we have given our lives too has been for little or nothing.
Move even closer. Look at the fallen Jesus. He is at one with all those poor and dispossessed that have few to speak for them. In this fall he reaches out to any sinners who have stumbled and fallen—sometimes humiliated and ashamed. This Christ, bearing this heavy cross accepts us all. None of we fallen ones are beyond the pale of his love and care.
He will somehow stagger to his feet and move on. But this is the place where he meets us one and all. None of us are left behind. Standing here before the fallen Jesus we know, like our Lord, we can make it. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4.16)