than a symbol of all pain.
He might in very truth
contain all pain.
And a man standing
on a hilltop
with his arms outstretched,
a symbol of a symbol,
he too might be a reservoir
of all the pain that ever was."
"Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified...And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe upon him, and plaiting a crown of thorns they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him they mocked him, saying 'Hail, King of the Jews!' And they spat upon him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe, and put his own clothes on him, and led him awaty to crucify him." --Matthew 27. 26, 28-31
Of all the Stations, this one sticks in my mind. His pain. Pilate had already had Jesus scourged. Scourging meant that on the bare back someone with an iron chain, with little metal balls or bits of bone on the end—would whip the prisoner again and again. Often the person would die from such treatment. But Jesus somehow endured. He stood there dizzy and reeling from the pain. Then the soldiers—a whole battalion of six hundred men stood guard. Why so many? They added humiliation to his pain. He was stripped naked and then robed in purple like a king. They thrust a crown of thorns on his head. They placed a reed, his scepter, in his shaking hand. They bowed down in mockery—saying over and over, “King Jesus...King Jesus.” People standing by joined in on the act. Cruelty is contagious. The crowd spat and yelled and cursed.
But if the Stations of the Cross are a mirror—we see our pain, too. The hurts of our childhood. The wounds our parents never intended to inflict. The pain we cause ourselves. The self-destructiveness that we carry like a burden. Not to speak of that lump that turned out to be more. And that EKG which showed that blockage. Or the migraines or the aches in old age. Look closely and you may see your own pain.
But we also see their pain. Pain of all the sufferers through the years. Little children, abused and emotionally crippled for life. Soldiers broken and wounded by war. The pain of their families. Guantanamo. Water-boarding. Cancer. Heart-trouble. Alzheimers. Mental illness. Drugs. Drugs. Drugs. Behind the doors of that beautiful white house with green shutters—we don’t hear the abuse that goes on day after day. Grief that never leaves. Ugly words. Those terrible text messages the kids receive. Words like faggot, queer, retard, nigger, stupid, bitch, Muslim, socialist and no good are just some of hurtful wounds that wound. What words would you add?
Old Samuel Johnson said he could never hear or read the Latin hymn without breaking down when he came to the words: “It was seeking me that Thou didst sit wearied; and for me that Thou didst bear the cruel pain of crucifixion. Grant that such labor may not be all thrown away.”
(The visual interpretations of the 14 Stations are drawn and painted by artist, Cecile L. K. Martin who lives in Seneca, South Carolina and teaches at the University of Georgia College of Environment and Design.
If you ae interested in her work she can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org)