Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Station 13: Jesus is Taken Down From the Cross

photo by Sean O'Dowd/ flickr
"Even bein' God

ain't no 

bed o' roses."

-- Green Pastures,
Marc Connelley

Our journey is about over. But not yet. We stand beside the Thirteenth Station of the Cross. It has taken us a while to get here. The via dolorosa—the way of sorrows-- is always a long journey. But not as long as that tortured journey of Jesus.   Like so many of us he, too cried out in despair: “My God why have you forsaken me?” And after three long anguishing hours—he whispered: “It is finished.” And Jesus died. And so here we stand as so many of us have stood when someone we love dies. We don’t know what to say. There is nothing to say. With enormous sadness we, in slow-motion, begin to do what we have to do. Here Jesus’ disciples have the unbearable task of taking his dead body down from the cross.

In Marc Connelly’s old play, Green Pastures there is a powerful scene when God looks down from a window in heaven and watches what is happening on the cross. On stage there is a moment of hushed and terrible silence, as God watches his beloved on die. And then, all at once, God covers his face with his hands. And so here, once again he is with any of us who have grieved over the death of someone we love. There is nothing to say. But Isaiah was right: "Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows..." Jesus wept days before at Lazarus' tomb. And here in the saddest of the Stations—God weeps, too. Not only for Jesus but for anyone anywhere who has lost someone precious.

We now know this is not the end of the story. The disciples did not know that. And when death comes to close to us—we, like those disciples, forget that this is not the end. It seems like the end. How could it possibly be otherwise? Our only response is silence. There is nothing to say as we stand here on the holiest of ground. And as we weep, God weeps too.

                --Roger Lovette /

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