One of my favorite seasons of the church year is Lent and one of my most favorite devotions is/are the stations of the cross. In the various churches I have served I have organized dozens of living stations of the cross services utilizing between 40 – 60 participants serving as actors, readers, musicians and writers. During the next forty days I will occasionally blog a meditation from many of those various presentations.
The First Station; Jesus is Condemned to Death
Fearing for uprisings, the government made it a law that no person shall proclaim to be the Messiah. Jesus broke that law, was arrested, accused, tried, judged, and executed. Many people today would perceive that law as an injustice but, it was the law of the day. Jesus took seriously the mission described in Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free.” Injustice or not, Jesus broke the law and for proclaiming the kingdom that challenges the order of society and, in order to protect that current society and its powers, Jesus had to die.
Jesus stood all alone before Pilate. His friends and followers abandoned him. Nobody spoke up for him. Nobody helped defend him. He devoted his entire life to helping others, listening to the most hated of society and caring for those who were ignored by others. Nobody seemed to remember that as they prepared to put him to death. No good deed goes unpunished.
Sometimes we feel abandoned and afraid. Sometimes we may feel like we are treated unfairly or blamed for things we haven’t done. We have a hard time when people criticize us at home or at work. Alternatively, we sometimes put other people down or mock them because they are different. We do this to fellow students and fellow workers, family members we know who will forgive us, to people from different cultures or different nationalities. We do this to people we don’t like or are afraid of or feel superior to or threatened by.
For comfort and purposes of good health I spend 98% of my time barefoot. I like to feel on the bottom of my feet the cool and the warmth, the sharp and the round, the smooth and the rough. From a lifetime of walking barefoot I feel at one with the ground. When God called Moses to be a prophet he said to him, “Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” Wherever we stand, it is holy ground. The blood of the poor, the condemned, the accused, the hatred, the different, the lost, the abandoned, the forsaken, the homeless and the oppressed, has seeped into the soil beneath all our feet. This is holy ground. Without shoes our feet can feel the sharp pain from pieces of broken dreams hidden in the dirt on the ground where we stand. Our feet will kick up the dust of our past mistakes and condemnations of others. Only when we remove the feel good masking comfort of our thick soled shoes will we become one with the holy ground and everything which makes it holy (a friend of mine puts a silver dollar coin in her shoe during Lent to remind her of holy ground with each step she takes).
Almighty God, whose most dear Son suffered pain and was crucified, mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross on your holy ground, may find it none other than the way of life, healing and peace; through Jesus Christ you Son our Lord. Amen
“Well, the earth is the Lord’s
and the fullness thereof
From the waters beneath
To the heavens above, so…
Take, Take off your shoes
You’re standing on my holy ground
You’re standing on my holy ground”