Friday, February 15, 2013

The Second Station--Jesus Takes the Cross

"At the the cross
where I first saw the light..."
    --Gospel song

Pause with me and look at this second station: Jesus takes the cross. Pilate kept sarcastically saying to the crowd: “This is your King.” In mocking fashion they put a purple robe on this man with the blood-streaked face. The  robe stuck to the bloody lashes on his back, arms and legs. The crowd wanted blood as crowds often do. Pilate asks a last time: “Shall I crucify your king?” And the Chief Priests answered for the crowd: “We have no king but Caesar.” Y Tube would have a field day with this scene.

Where does the power really lie? In the pageantry and might of the great Roman Empire? Or could is possibly rest in this one who talks of another kingdom. There really are two kingdoms. A kingdom of power and might and there is a kingdom of power and glory.

Have you ever said, maybe not out loud but somewhere deep in your heart: “We have no king but Caesar.” Maybe you never said it but you have lived like it. Take away the economic uncertainty and all the talk and all the fear and there would hardly be any news to report. Money really does make our world go round. We have just come through another ugly election. We voted for power from either one candidate or the other. We want to get things done. And even after the election everything is in disarray because of what? Power. One of the movies up for Best Picture in the Academy Awards is a film about torture. It raises the question could we ever win this war of terror or whatever without torture. We gain so much this way, we are told. It is power over another. Ask those at Guantanamo Bay behind those guarded fences about power and torture. Our major discussion is how many troops do we leave in Afghanistan and how many drones do we send into Pakistan just to show who’s in charge. We could even mention the football fans that yell, “Number 1...Number 1.” Who wants to be Number 2?  What about guns—that’s a whole discussion itself. On the personal level some of us opt for success and others of us have given ourselves over a smorgasbord of addictions. The tail really does wag the dog, doesn’t it? “We have no king but Caesar.”  Was that then or is that now?

We know, don’t we? We know. But standing here before Jesus seemingly powerless, forced to take a cross we have to face a disturbing question. This Kingdom Jesus talks about what does it mean for you and me and us and the whole world?

So Jesus takes up the cross. And after all these years we still keep coming back to this Second station of the Cross. What does it mean to stand here and look, really look at the One who carried the cross? Where is the power? Where is our power? And we too must answer who is our king? Not an easy answer is it.

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