|photo by Eleisabelle/flickr|
--Luke 23. 26
We don’t remember the soldiers. Pilate is only named because he is a bit player in the Jesus story. We don’t remember that crowd that watched him on his via dolorosa—his way of sorrows. Only Veronica and the daughters of Jerusalem, Jesus’ mother and of course, Simon. All the rest have faded from history.
What we do remember in Simon carrying Jesus’ cross. Not because of what this man said. We have no record of his words, if any. We remember what he did.
The Scriptures say he was compelled to shoulder the cross. Never mind. What sticks in our mind is that Simon shared in Jesus’ suffering. He helped shoulder the load. What he did mattered.
What do we remember? The teacher in Junior High that said, “Have you thought about going to college?” Or that Scout leader who taught you to swim. The brother that taught you to drive. That crumpled fifteen dollars your mother sent week after week from her little paycheck when you were in college. The Doctor who made house calls when your daughter was very sick. The teacher who taught your little boy year after patient year and flew all the way to Chicago to see him graduate. The little handful—you still can call their names after all these years—of those who drove 200 miles to stand beside you at your mother’s grave. The Nurse that stayed all night when your wife was so, so sick. The Counselor who told you in a hard time: “You’re gonna make it.” Or that church member who came when all was dark and said, “I believe in you.” We all have a multitude in our balconies. They have stood by and whispered words of encouragement, and shouldered our loads, and cheered us on—and made a difference. No wonder we remember.
And so the church sorted out the stories and decided what would go into the good news. It is no wonder that along that dark road that they wrote Simon’s name in large letters. It was their way of saying God wants to be helped. In that last parable they must have remembered what Jesus said, “Inasmuch as you do it unto the least of these...you do it to me.” And so we stand by this Fifth Station and we remember Simon. And standing here is it any wonder we remember our own Simons?
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