October 19, 2017

Stations of the Cross: The Seventh Station

A Series for Holy Week.
Thanks to Jeff Dunn for leading us in these meditations.

THE SEVENTH STATION
Jesus falls the second time.

Scripture

Cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you will eat the plants of the field; by the sweat of your face you will eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

Genesis 3: 17-19, NASB


Meditation
Jesus is stumbling, now without the weight of the cross, up the hill that will take him to death. The weight of death is now pulling him down, lower and lower, until he falls once again to the ground. The dust sticks to his hands, his face. He inhales it into his nose, his mouth. Dust—the very thing from which we were created—is now grabbing, clutching Jesus, pulling him back into the earth. The very Creator of every grain of sand, every particle of dust, is being overcome by his creation. He stumbles, face down in dust, dust that is calling him, mocking him, telling him his time has come, he cannot outrun the dust.

Death is going to win today. Death will claim Life. Death, here is your victory dance, beginning with a fall. Death, your sting is in the dust that rises up to claim the Creator.

Jesus, the Creator of life, is about to drink the cup of death all the way to the bottom. It is a drink that is dry, as dry as the dust.

Action
Today, meditate on this second fall into the dust by Jesus. His imminent death weighs on him so he can barely move. Is the death of Jesus a heavy, ponderous weight in your heart today? Or do you just chalk it up to something that needed to be done, and since Jesus is God, it probably wasn’t all that hard on him. Meditate on this. And this: The dust is reaching up for you as well, right now. How do you feel about returning to the dust from which you came? Is that all there is, or could it be that Jesus’ fall into the dust somehow, some way, transformed dirt from life-taking to life-giving once and for all.

Prayer
Jesus, we hear and read about death all day long. The news we ingest speaks endlessly of death and dying, so much that we are immune to its power. But death reached out for you, the Maker of Life, and pulled you down. It was able to do this only because of your allowance. And you allowed it to pull you down only for one reason: Love for me. Thank you, Savior, for your second fall, for in that fall, you must have whispered to the dust that death itself was about to die.

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

Comments

  1. Very beautiful thoughts here, Mike. Thank you for the pick-me-up.

  2. Meant to add that this was particularly awesome and helpful:

    “Jesus, we hear and read about death all day long. The news we ingest speaks endlessly of death and dying, so much that we are immune to its power. But death reached out for you, the Maker of Life, and pulled you down. It was able to do this only because of your allowance. And you allowed it to pull you down only for one reason: Love for me. Thank you, Savior, for your second fall, for in that fall, you must have whispered to the dust that death itself was about to die.”

    Thanks again, Mike.

  3. Do you think that Judas realized this would be the outcome of his betrayal of Jesus? When I was reading the Gospel readings for today which come from Jn 13:21-33, 36-38, it says that Jesus tells the disciple he loved (many of us believe that is John) which disciple is going to betray him when he tells John: ” ‘It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it.’ So he dipped the morsel and took it and handed it to Judas.” So do we assume that John then did nothing? He didn’t say, “Judas, don’t do it!” ? He didn’t tell the others what was happening? Perhaps Jesus explained to John that it had to be this way for the Kingdom to come the way it had to come, but it just wasn’t written that Jesus gave that explanation. I don’t know. I just find that an interesting passage to ponder.

    • Sometimes I think the disciples were in denial, like it was an impossibly difficult situation to even fathom. Like, at one point Jesus says plainly he’s going to die, and they stop asking him questions, as if they’re afraid of the details. Judas leaves long before the Passover dinner ends, and he doesn’t come back. They had to be starting to wonder.

      Other denial example: Peter swore up and down he’d never deny Jesus, but he ran. Judas, Judas is a bizarrely complicated figure, on some level. A pragmatic thief who did the same miracles the others did, cast out demons, and had his feet washed by Jesus. He knew where to find Jesus that night, and could pick him out in the dark. That’s how well he knew Jesus.

      But partly, too, Jesus also told Judas to go do what he’d purposed to do. So, even though Jesus said “whoever dips bread with me is my betrayer,” he’s also just told Judas to run an errand (that’s what they suppose, one account says). Who knows?

  4. “But death reached out for you, the Maker of Life, and pulled you down. It was able to do this only because of your allowance. And you allowed it to pull you down only for one reason: Love for me. “

    Thank You Jesus. I will never forget.

  5. Question: What do iMonk readers was in the cup?

  6. Thank you for doing this series. The stations of the cross mean a lot to me. It is interesting that protestant/fundagelicals criticize such meditations, but instead base their prayer and meditations on mere feelings and emotions, rather than the gospel narrative, as portrayed in the stations. Christianity Today has a great article entitled “The Mind Under Grace” describing how American evangelicals are really products of Schleiermacher and his emphasis upon emotions; that they are really “default buddhists”. Piety begins with objectivity. A personal relationship with God needs to be based upon the reality of the gospel, not fuzzy emotions. Emotions follow. I often am overwhelmed by meditating upon the stations: what Jesus endured; the contrast of the King of Kings being crowned with thorns; that God can die; that Father turned away from the Son; that he endured this for me, because of me.