December 17, 2017

Stations of the Cross: The Eighth Station

A Series for Holy Week.
Thanks to Lisa Dye for leading us in today’s meditation.

THE EIGHTH STATION
Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem.

Scripture

A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then “’they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!” for if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Luke 23:27-31, NIV

Meditation
At this point on the journey toward the hill where Jesus would die, the cries of the women who accompanied him with their mourning rose to an urgent pitch. They had almost reached their destination – Golgotha. Once the spikes were driven into his hands and feet, his minutes of life would be numbered. His moments of consciousness would dwindle. Time was nearing when they would no longer be able to communicate the depth of sorrow they felt that he was leaving them. Neither could they adequately express their gratitude that he alone had recognized the innate worth God had breathed into them in the midst of a culture that viewed them as possessions. And now? Now, God bound in the frailty of a human body, the God who had spoken to them as mothers, sisters, brides and queens, was about to leave them to an unknowable future.

Suddenly, Jesus stopped and turned toward these women. “Daughters of Jerusalem,” he said tenderly. By separating them from the large number of people who followed them, he gave them a distinction. He also gave them a mission. “Yes, weep, but weep rightly,” he seemed to be saying. He wanted them to understand that the tears they shed for him, though born of compassion, were misplaced. His journey up the hill had the appearance of death, but it would be a death that led to life and which accomplished the triumph of reconciling them to his Father.

No, their tears would be better shed over the perilous future that would come to Jerusalem because she had rejected him. Here he gives them a prophecy of the coming destruction that would change their paradigms. All that was most important to them, the blessing of fruitful wombs and children nursing at their breasts would suddenly change. In the day of Jerusalem’s destruction not far in the future, they would long for the mountains and hills to fall on them.

Indeed, only a short time before, Jesus had approached the city and when he saw it he wept. His lament? “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes” (see Luke 19:41, 42 NIV). Jesus, the High Priest, wept over Jerusalem and now he was telling its daughters to weep as well. With this gesture, he transferred an aspect of his priestly ministry to them. They had recognized him as the one who could bring Jerusalem her peace. Now they were charged to weep for her as Jesus had and to communicate his ministry of reconciliation, prayerfully and lovingly.

Action
What is my Jerusalem? Is it my own family in the midst of struggles or sicknesses? Is it a workplace filled with strife or a community torn by violence and misunderstanding? Is it a neighboring family caught in abuse, addiction or despair? I have only to look in the eyes of those I meet each day to see that peace eludes nearly everyone. What will bring these aching ones their peace? It is only one thing – reconciliation with the God of all flesh. Like a daughter of Jerusalem, I am his priest in these places and for these people. I will weep for them. I will love them. I will winsomely communicate his compassion. By his grace, many will become his sons and daughters and know their peace giver.

Prayer
Jesus, I thank you for imparting this ministry to me. Open my eyes to my Jerusalem. Give me a heart of compassion so that I can weep for my people. Manifest your life and love in me in practical ways that articulate you so compellingly to those who ache for your peace.

Chorus
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Comments

  1. I love the artwork on all of the stations so far. Any idea where the images come from or who the artist is? Are they available for purchase anywhere?

  2. Thanks for sharing these reflections this week. It is an important to remember that Jesus weeps for us and that he calls us to weep for others as well. I can get caught up in the “work” of helping others, ministry and even knowing (in part) the truth of peoples lives. Jesus knew fully the truth of Jersusalem and yet he spoke this truth with a weeping heart and with weeping words.

  3. http://www.bible-archaeology.info/work.htm
    Scroll to the bottom of that page to read about it being women’s work to prepare dead bodies. I wonder if the women following Jesus did what this article says in regard to the tombs of their loved ones being “visited and watched for three days by family members.” And: “On the third day after death, the body was examined.”

  4. Maybe the best we can do with all the people around us is ask ourselves, “Does God love this person?” The answer is “Yes.” Therefore, we too will love this person. Someone said, “God loves us just as we are and loves us too much to leave us as we are.” Sorry I don’t know the source.

  5. Lisa,
    Great thoughts. I think often of the conservative Jews in NY who claimed a few years ago that the Messiah was among them… as an elderly, nearly blind, dumb, rabbi. Initially, you want to scoff (or at least I did) at the ridiculousness of the idea, until you think of the absurdity of claiming the divinity of (seemingly) bastard son of a carpenter from a poor and disrespected region of the country being God’s Chosen One.

    “Our ways are not His ways…” should ring often in our ears and change how we see our worlds and people in our worlds.