1. Jesus is
No proper evidence;
No justification for passing the death sentence.
The crowd eager for blood;
The self-righteous religious leaders
puffed up with pride and hypocrisy;
misusing their power and authority;
keen to be rid of this trouble-maker
who is constantly challenging them.
Pilate too scared to do the right thing,
trying desperately to distance himself
yet unable to wash himself clean of his involvement;
Barabbas, guilty as sin, walks free.
The only one free of guilt is the one who has to die,
condemned by those he came to save.
injustice all around us, but how often do we challenge and confront it
head-on as Jesus did? Do we have the courage to speak up for those who have
no voice, or do we opt for a quiet life, hoping someone else will take
charge? Lord, help us to think of others; to place their concerns before our
own. Open our eyes to look out for the outcast and the stranger, for it is
then that we welcome you.
carries the cross
The wooden cross
- an almost unbearable weight;
difficult to carry;
no easy place to grip hold
- the wood
rough and jagged;
tearing into the flesh;
somehow made heavier
by the guardsí jeers and harsh treatment.
Betrayed by a kiss;
sold for 30 silver coins
- the price of friendship comes cheap.
Denied three times over by a beloved disciple.
Surely too much suffering for one man to bear?
We can be so
wrapped up in our own lives that we fail to notice the pain of those around
us. Lord, help us to be more aware of the problems that burden our friends,
family and all your people, near and far. Open our hearts to their pleas and
give us the desire to journey with them and help carry their load.
3. Jesus falls
for the first time
Weak from the beatings;
pushed roughly along by the soldiers.
sprawled on the ground;
bloody knees and grazed hands;
Laughter and more shoving.
Yells of: ĎGet yourself up!í
all for our sakes.
The God of love.
We all know
the embarrassment of falling down and looking a fool in front of others,
especially those we want to impress. Lord, grant us the gift of sensitivity
that we may act with kindness and compassion to all people. Teach us to love
unconditionally and to offer support to others if they stumble or fall.
4. Jesus comes
face to face with his mother
Watching and waiting.
A helpless bystander,
just another face in the crowd.
Flashbacks to that first encounter with the angel.
Words too mysterious to take on board.
A child? How can this be?
Josephís gentle acceptance.
no harsh words.
Then the day we almost lost him
- an ache tearing my soul in two.
Even then he was marked out as special;
more God than man:
the miracles, signs and wonders.
Such love and compassion
for the poor and the lonely,
the hungry and the outcast.
Such love Ö and now this:
the mob braying for his blood
- insults, jeers, humiliation.
A sword pierces my heart.
Godís plan for her with humility and grace, trusting in his love and
guidance. We are used to making decisions and choices based on our own
judgement. Lord, grant us the wisdom to recognise that you alone can see the
bigger picture. Help us to trust you completely, even when the way ahead
seems painful and bleak.
5. Simon of
Cyrene helps carry the cross
Keep my head
stay out of
to do with me.
I donít want
to get involved.
This guy Jesus
seems like a good sort.
Canít work out
what theyíve got against him.
not when the
guards are waving spears around.
My, this cross
is some weight
- no wonder
the poor fellow couldnít manage it,
given the beatings heís had.
How often do
we come across unfair situations and say nothing for fear of getting caught
up in the crossfire? Lord, take away our uncertainty; make us bolder to act
when others need our help, so that, like Simon, we can share their burden as
a sign of our solidarity.
wipes the face of Jesus
Moved to pity
by Jesusí plight.
The crown of
thorns digging deep into his forehead:
blood and spit
tears streaming down.
A face so
humble and full of compassion.
through the crowd;
to think how the soldiers might react;
no time to be
troubled about her own safety,
gently wipes his face with her veil;
suffering with a loving gesture;
a small act of
in a world
bound up in hatred and cruelty.
Do we have the
confidence to go against the crowd and make friends with someone who is
unpopular or unloved? Like Veronica, does it make us feel better if we are
able to do something, however little it may seem, to help someone in need?
Lord, give us the strength of purpose to stand up for the truth and not be
troubled about the consequences for ourselves.
7. Jesus falls
for the second time
Not wanting to see this thing through;
hoping against hope that there might be another way,
an easier way;
that God would not require such a difficult sacrifice;
that this cup will pass me by.
But no: I must suffer falls and humiliation
to become truly human;
to share fully in the utter degradation
endured by so many.
This way, I can look them in the eye and say:
I understand your pain, I am one with you.í
foolish and a failure in front of other people is an absolute nightmare. We
cringe for ourselves and for other people when they fall. Lord, inspire us
to show true compassion to those who fall in whatever way. Teach us not to
be judgemental, but to welcome the opportunity to show your love to them.
women of Jerusalem weep for Jesus
bursting with sorrow;
that knows no bounds.
A river of
weeping and wailing.
ĎO women, weep
not for me,
for yourselves and your families.í
not understood in human terms.
perfect act of love
redeem a fallen world.
In our broken
humanity we find it impossible to fully comprehend the depth of Jesusí love
for us Ė a love so perfect that it knows no bounds. Lord, give us the grace
to see through your eyes so that we may respond to the cries of our brothers
and sisters with generosity and compassion: to love as you love.
9. Jesus falls
for the third time
worse than the two before.
enough strength to get up again.
pain is almost too much to bear.
Truly a man of
A lamb led to
opening his mouth.
seems things just canít get any worse, that youíve reached rock bottom. And
you have to face your problems on your own because no one else really
appreciates what youíre going through. Lord, we know that you have promised
to always be there for us, no matter what we do. But it can be hard to
believe that promise when we feel utterly abandoned and alone. Encourage us
to put our trust in you and turn to you in good times and bad.
10. Jesus is
stripped of his clothes
no way to
retain even the smallest scrap of dignity.
mocked as a king
but now worse
than the poorest beggar in the land.
of dignity roughly torn away:
opposite of worldly power and majesty.
no word of
protest or reproach.
We can hide
who we are with our clothes, keeping others at a distance. Stripped bare,
all pretence is taken away and we can be seen for who we truly are. Lord,
give us the courage to peel away the layers that we have built around
ourselves for our own protection. Help us to embrace our vulnerability as a
means of coming closer to our brothers and sisters and to you.
11. Jesus is
nailed to the cross
inhumanity to man know no bounds?
gun crimes on
caused by damage to Godís wonderful creation.
A man nailed
to a cross.
Left to die a
slow, agonising death
in the heat of
the mid-day sun.
super-human reserves of love are required
forgive the tormentors?
A heart full
to overflowing with love and compassion.
How many times
do we Ďnailí Jesus to the cross with our harsh words; our lack of
consideration for others; our self-centredness? Lord, help us to overcome
the dark side of our natures and to focus on the light so that we may
reflect your love in the world around us.
12. Jesus dies
dreadful way to die:
out, every breath a new torture.
No quick easy
bullet or poisoned cup.
The mouth on
fire with an unbearable thirst:
A drink is
- vinegar, not
against the cut lips;
opening up the
blood and pus ooze once again.
vinegar like the bitterness of the mob
The end is
let us down and there seems no way forward we can glimpse a little of the
suffering Jesus endured in his final moments on the cross. For a moment it
seemed as though even God had deserted him, but we know that without Jesusí
death there could be no resurrection and no promise of eternal life. Lord,
when the problems of life seem to overwhelm us, remind us that tomorrow will
bring a new day, full of new possibilities.
13. Jesus is
taken down from the cross
I come from
Arimathea - thatís a Jewish town.
Iíve been a
follower of Jesus for a while now,
Okay, I didnít
with the other
members of the Council
turned against Jesus,
but I didnít
exactly do much to stop them.
I was too
afraid for my own safety.
Well, maybe I
didnít stand up for Jesus
while he was
but I can
do something for him now.
I plucked up
Pilate for the body.
surprised at the request,
but he said
I think he was
already starting to feel guilty:
he knew he
should never have allowed him to be executed.
How often are
we bound by what people might think rather than just getting on with doing
the right thing? Lord, forgive us for the times when we lack boldness. Give
us the courage to act, without worrying about how it may impact us. Take
away our hearts of stone and give us hearts of fire that burn with love for
14. Jesus is
placed in the tomb
A race against
time to finish the preparations
Nicodemus, both secret disciples,
fearful of the
go together to
prepare an empty tomb for Jesusí body;
wrap it in a
clean burial garment;
place it in
and roll a
large stone over the entrance
anyone getting in and disturbing it.
group of followers trudge home,
heavy and sad,
unsure of what
tomorrow may bring.
Nicodemus kept the lowest profile of all the disciples and yet they were the
ones who took centre stage in the final scene of Jesusí death. Like them, we
may be slow to make a commitment, but Godís patience is boundless - he never
gives up on us. Lord, be our inspiration on our journey, that we may work
faithfully to bring about your kingdom of love and justice and peace.
Anne OíConnor 19/2/09
Shrewsbury Diocese J&P Commission on Youth issues.