I am typically too busy at work to take part in any of my church's Wednesday night programs. But tonight, there was an emergency. This evening's offering was a short introduction into the reflective mode of the Stations of the Cross. Rather than have the clergy do most of the leading, they enlisted the help of the laity in developing a reflection for the seven stations they were highlighting.
I was asked if I would do one of them. I checked my schedule and realized that, while I could do it, I'd be arriving almost at the start of the program, and figured it would be best if I not risk being late.
No problem, said the priest. A member of the youth group had stepped up, and so all was good.
Did I mention this was a youth?
Did I mention that the youth are, sometimes, not the most reliable?
Monday, a message arrived from the priest via Facebook.
"HELP!!!" The youth had dropped out, and the priest really, really, really needed me to step back in. Even if I got there at 6:30pm, that would be fine. Please, please, please--would I help?
Yes, of course. So here's what I put together last night for our reflection on Jesus' death.
Jesus Dies on the Cross
V:We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you:
R:Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
From the Gospel of John:
When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold your son!" Then he said to the disciple, "Behold your mother!" And when Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, "It is finished!" And then, crying with a loud voice, he said, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit." And he bowed his head, and handed over his spirit.
From the cross, Christ looks down and sees his mother, brokenhearted and mourning, and the disciple whom he loved, the only one of his male friends to remain with him until the end. He commands his mother to regard John, the beloved disciple, as if he was one from her own womb:” Woman, behold your son!” Then he turns to John and says, “Behold your mother!” Two people whose only common bond is Christ must now regard each other as family. This is the work that continues for us today: to see each other as mothers and sons, fathers and daughters, all part of the human family and the body of Christ. The cancer that attacks the cells of that body is when we fail to recognize the spirit of God in others. That’s when we withdraw to a place of fear of other people because of who they are, what they look like or what they believe. Christ’s work is finished when he draws two strangers together through his death upon the cross, and thus strengthens the bond of the human family. Our work becomes like his when we resist the fear of others to extend our hands in Love to the brothers and sisters whom we have seen.
V. Christ for us became obedient unto death:
R. Even death on a cross.
(priest)Let us pray. (Silence)
O God, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; who lives and reigns now and for ever. Amen