Tag Archives: Stations of the Cross

Eyewitnesses to the Stations of the Cross: Part 7

CrossOver the past week I’ve posted different”eye-witness” accounts to the Stations of the Cross. They were designed to explore the wide-range of emotions among those who experienced them first-hand.  I hope that they have lead you to put yourself in the story and compare your own reactions, motivations, hopes and fears with the character’s. I invite you to reflect with me once again:


BYSTANDER
I had come out to see all that was going on, to see what would happen. I arrived about noon and the sky looked dark. There was a sense of anticipation in the air. The murmurings were that Jesus was about to do something great but I wasn’t so sure. He looked so weak, so frail.

At about 3:00, Jesus began to say something. Even though it took all that he had, he spoke loudly enough for all of us to hear him.

What he said haunts me to this day…

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Someone next to me yelled, “He is calling for Elijah!” I grabbed a sponge and put it on a spear to give him some wine to drink. Then someone else shouted, “Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to save him.”

That’s when Jesus breathed his last, and died.

JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA
They say that the veil in the Temple sanctuary was torn in two…

That the earth quaked…

That rocks were split…

For me, I don’t remember much of what happened that afternoon. The soldiers began to panic and people began to leave the hill. That’s when I saw Mary and the others standing there weeping. It was too much for me to handle, so I left, too.

Sunset was quickly approaching and with the Sabbath about to begin, I knew that something had to be done with His body immediately. What possessed me to go to Pilate, I don’t know, but I dared to ask him to give me His body. Pilate agreed.

I had a tomb nearby recently dug and we brought His body and laid it to rest there. Then, we rolled a stone across the entrance.

I just really thought that Jesus would do more…that he would be more. 

There has to be more…

Right?

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Eyewitnesses to the Stations of the Cross: Part 6

CrossThis is the sixth in the series of reflections on the stations of the cross.

I began to wonder about the wide-range of emotion among those who experienced the stations of the cross first-hand. I wrote this version of the Stations of the Cross to reflect these conflicting feelings. It was originally set as a play and is out of my own imagination. It is not meant to be historically accurate. It is meant to put us into the events of that day, for Jesus’ Passion is our story, too.

Each day through Good Friday I will post another “eye-witness” account. As you read, put yourself in the story and compare your own reactions, motivations, hopes and fears with the character’s. I invite you to reflect with me:


ROMAN SOLDIER
We had been at Golgotha all morning preparing the site for the execution. The Jews look at us as though we enjoy our work. I don’t.

But what am I to do? My superior will just as readily execute me than this man, Jesus. So, we did our work. We did what we had to do.

After stretching His arms out on the cross, it was my job to take the nail, press it into His flesh and pound. You never get over the sound and feel of bone crushing.

He screamed…

They all scream.

Though His words were different, and I’ll never forget them. Unlike the others who beg for it to stop, or curse the soldiers, Jesus cried out to “ABBA” His Father. He asked him to forgive them, that they didn’t know that they were doing.

I’m not sure about anyone else, but I didn’t know what was going on.

HIGH PRIEST
Several hours later Jesus finally looked to be at the end. Good. As High Priest, I have other functions that I need to attend to. Today is the preparation day for the Sabbath, after all!

I strode over to Jesus and the soldiers made no attempt to prevent me from going right up to His feet. As the High Priest, it is my job to protect God’s chosen people from blasphemers, impostors like this Jesus.

I said to Him, “You said that You would tear down the Temple and in three days rebuild it. Then come down off that cross if you can!”

As I walked away, He surprised even me. He said, “Father forgive them. They know not what they do.”

There have been others before him, but Jesus seems different. Then, He said, “My God, my God. Why have you abandoned me?”

Eyewitnesses to the Stations of the Cross: Part 5

CrossThis is the fifth in the series of reflections on the stations of the cross.

I began to wonder about the wide-range of emotion among those who experienced the stations of the cross first-hand. I wrote this version of the Stations of the Cross to reflect these conflicting feelings. It was originally set as a play and is out of my own imagination. It is not meant to be historically accurate. It is meant to put us into the events of that day, for Jesus’ Passion is our story, too.

Each day through Good Friday I will post another “eye-witness” account. As you read, put yourself in the story and compare your own reactions, motivations, hopes and fears with the character’s. I invite you to reflect with me:


REPENTANT THIEF
Why did I commit my crime? I know that I was hungry and needed money. But I had no right to take the gold from that rich man. I am guilty.

But Jesus, why does He deserve to die? I haven’t seen Him do anything but good or heard anything that wasn’t true from His lips. And, yet, here He is just as I facing the same fate as me. Worse.  He has been so badly beaten that He can’t even walk let alone carry a cross.

Oh, no. He has fallen again. Even the soldiers seem to wince at His fall, flat on His face in the rocks and dust of the hill. Jesus, for Your sake I pray that it ends soon.

God, though I have no right to utter a word to you, sinner that I am, please grant me mercy that I might not face the torture that Jesus is experiencing now.

WOMAN CAUGHT IN ADULTERY
I first met Jesus at my lowest, darkest hour. Condemned, and rightly so, for adultery. Jesus began to write in the sand…

I never did learn what He wrote, but they all left, one by one, tossing their rocks on the ground. When it was just Jesus and I, He offered a hand and lifted me to my feet.

What I remember most is the way that he looked at me, not just as a sinner. Though He didn’t turn away from that part of me, either. He saw through me to the core of my being, my very soul.

Now here He lies on the ground and is naked before me.

Why, Jesus? 

Why God?

Eyewitnesses to the Stations of the Cross: Part 4

CrossThis is the fourth in the series of reflections on the stations of the cross.

I began to wonder about the wide-range of emotion among those who experienced the stations of the cross first-hand. I wrote this version of the Stations of the Cross to reflect these conflicting feelings. It was originally set as a play and is out of my own imagination. It is not meant to be historically accurate. It is meant to put us into the events of that day, for Jesus’ Passion is our story, too.

Each day through Good Friday I will post another “eye-witness” account. As you read, put yourself in the story and compare your own reactions, motivations, hopes and fears with the character’s. I invite you to reflect with me:


ANGRY THIEF
I hate these people with their laws and supposed righteousness! Look at me, a common thief sentenced to die! And for what, taking gold from a rich man?

And Jesus, what a fraud! He claims to be the Messiah, the Son of God. Well, I don’t know where His god is now…what a joke! He deserves to die for making such outrageous claims!

But me, not me! And He even has someone to help Him carry His cross. “Hey, why don’t you find someone to help me!” I yell to the Romans. The whip is their reply. I hate them.

“Hold up!” they say. What now, can’t we get this over with? I turn around and see that Jesus has fallen—again. Isn’t that the point of having someone helping with His cross, to make sure He doesn’t fall.

The Romans grab Him and force Him to stand. “Good.” I say with a smirk. At least someone is getting their due today.

WOMAN OF JERUSALEM
This can’t be happening! Don’t they see what a good man Jesus is? He healed the sick, cured the lame, gave sight to the blind and hope to the despairing! Why should He die for this? 

Oh, Jesus what are we going to do now! You stood by us, said that we were loved by God. No one else ever said that to us… to me. 

The crowds won’t even let us stand near you now as though we are unworthy to be present at an execution. So, we stand here and weep.

I was there when the priests saw you clear out the temple. They were so angry! Will they come after Your followers, too? Will they come after me?

Oh Jesus! Oh my Jesus!

Eyewitnesses to the Stations of the Cross: Part 3

CrossThis is the third in the series of reflections on the stations of the cross.

I began to wonder about the wide-range of emotion among those who experienced the stations of the cross first-hand. I wrote this version of the Stations of the Cross to reflect these conflicting feelings. It was originally set as a play and is out of my own imagination. It is not meant to be historically accurate. It is meant to put us into the events of that day, for Jesus’ Passion is our story, too.

Each day through Good Friday I will post another “eye-witness” account. As you read, put yourself in the story and compare your own reactions, motivations, hopes and fears with the character’s. I invite you to reflect with me:


SIMON OF CYRENE
These children of mine are antsy today. I don’t know if it is the anticipation of the Passover celebration or because we made the trek to Jerusalem from Cyrene. The city is always busier than our home. But today it seems even more is going on. It is strange, like there is heaviness in the air.

After stopping in a shop, we stepped out into the street only to be met by an angry swarm of people and to avoid being separated from my children we followed the crowd. That’s when I saw the soldiers and a man—or what was left of a man—carrying a cross. What a pathetic sight.  The poor wretch looks to be barely breathing!

I asked the woman next to me who this criminal was. “Jesus of Nazareth” she said and began to sob. “Jesus?” I said out loud. This surely could not be Jesus! He was a prophet, a holy man! Certainly this woman must have meant some other Jesus. 

I must have said the name of Jesus too loudly because I garnered the attention of the centurion in charge. He yelled at me, “YOU! Get over here! This man cannot carry his cross any longer. You will carry it with Him!”

I was dumbfounded. Didn’t he see that I had small children with me? I am a stranger, I don’t even live in Jerusalem. Why pick me? Why should I be dragged into this?

That’s when the woman next to me said, “Help Him! I will take care of your children.” I didn’t know what to do. I was so scared. What if they decided to crucify me when we got to Golgotha?

The soldier’s spear made the decision for me and I went to Jesus and shouldered the weight of the cross for Him.

VERONICA
It was hot that day. The walk to the well took me longer than normal and I was sweating. I heard voices in the next street over shouting and wondered what was going on.

I was about to wipe my face with my veil when the horse and centurion turned down the alley. I was so startled that I jumped behind the well in the middle of the square. The people began to line the street’s edges as soldiers kept them at bay. They must not have seen me as their backs were to me.

First came by two criminals followed by soldiers with whips driving them onward. Then there came a man carrying a cross with another man barely hanging on the other side. He looked exhausted.

“Oh Jesus!” came the cries. Jesus? I thought. Then I saw His face and I brought a hand to my mouth. He was covered in blood, sweat, and dirt. How could anyone do something like to another person?

I must have been out of my mind because I stepped out from behind my hiding place and stepped in front of Jesus. I looked into His eyes and was met with something I did not expect to find—love. There was fatigue, for sure.  But there was no hatred or judgement, only love.

I did the only thing that I could. I offered my veil to Him to wipe His face.

That’s when the soldier saw me. He snatched the cloth from Jesus face and hands and threw it on the ground shouting, “Get out of here or I’ll find a punishment for you, too!”

I was so scared that I grabbed the veil from the ground and ran away, not even looking back.