Putting words to the wonder

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Station 6- Veronica Wipes Jesus Face

Be kind and merciful. Let no one ever come to you without coming away better and happier. Be the living _expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your greeting.
Mother Teresa

Community is like a large mosaic. One piece is bright red, another cold blue, a third dull green. As individual stones . . . each piece seems so insignificant . . . we can do little except compare them. When, however, all these little stories are brought together in one big mosaic portraying the face of Christ: who could question the importance of any one of them? If even the least spectacular one is missing, the face is incomplete. Each little stone is indispensible and makes a unique contribution to the glory of God. That’s community — a fellowship of people, who together make God visible in the world.

But I in my uprightness will see your face,
and when I awake, I shall be filled
with the vision of you.
Psalm 17:15


Art: Portrait of Jesus, by Hatigammana Uttarananda
People Hugging, by Tooker
Song: “My Jesus I Love Thee,” performed by Bill Gaither & Friends


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Station #5- Simon Helps Jesus
He needs help.
No one knows this better than the soldiers.
Had they not beaten him?
Didn’t one of the more ingenious among them weave a crown of thorns?
“Destroy this temple and in three days, I will rebuild it.”
Indeed! He can’t even make the short distance to Golgotha.
The soldiers had their orders: Crucify him . . .
Not let him drop over dead on the way.
He needs help.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. . . ”
Yet how often we, like the soldiers, shift our responsibility.
Unlike the soldiers, however, we’re not under orders.
It’s worse . . . We rationalize and lie to ourselves.
We have reasonable cover-ups for our lack of involvement.
We excuse ourselves for our apathy and squandered energy.
What can I do? we plead.
No one person can bear the concerns of all, unless it be God himself.
Why carry a larger, heavier cross?
Leave that to the Lord.


To lend each other a hand when we’ve fallen, perhaps that’s the only work that matters in the end.
Frederick Buechner

It is the time of decision. Will we fall in behind Simon of Cyrene? Will we allow ourselves to be pressed into service. Or better yet, volunteer for it? It’s time to look around, to see who needs help . . . who needs to be lifted up . . . to know they’re not alone, discarded, scorned. We must come down a step or two in our attitude . . . but if, in doing so, another is brought up a step or two . . . it means we will be able to walk together . . . as brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ.
For none of us lives for himself and none of us
dies for himself; while we are alive
we are living for the Lord, and when we die,
we die for the Lord: and so,
alive or dead, we belong to the Lord.
Romans 14:7-8

Art: Vine and Branches, by Kimiyoshi Endo
Christ of the Breadlines, by Fritz Eichenberg
Song: “Trading My Sorrows”

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Stations of the Cross # 4- Jesus Meets His Mother

Jesus Meets His Mother

and going into the house they saw the
child with his mother Mary, and
falling to their knees they did him homage.
Matthew 2:1
You half hoped she wouldn’t be there and yet you knew she would.
You hated to see her suffer, but you needed her support, didn’t you Lord? It wasn’t that she could do much. It was just her presence, that look of anguish and understanding and love. It helped you to forget about the others who had let you down.
Jesus, I’ve been one of the ones who let you down. In church I sing out that I love you — in safety with a select few. But on the city streets or seated in a conference room at work, I hear myself say, “I do not know him.”
Lord, the next time you look towards me, help me to return your glance and not look away.
We must learn how to bring the gift of consolation to the Christ in those around us. Whenever we do this, we will be consoling God himself. To console God, or to hurt him deeply: what a power we have. What a responsibility.
Catherine Doherty

Art: Nativity, by de La Tour
Song: “Christ’s Lullabye,” performed by Kathy Mattea

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 Stations of the Cross #3 -Jesus Falls the First Time

forgetting all that lies behind me, and
straining forward to what lies in front, I am racing
towards the finishing-point…to win the prize of God’s
heavenly call in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13-14
You knew what it was like to be tired.
Remember when you sank to the ground near the well at Sychar, thirsty and exhausted? Many times you felt your sense of purpose threatened by the tiredness of your body. You said to Peter in the garden:The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Lord, were you surprised when you felt so weak that you fell? My surprise is not that you fell, but that you got up again.
That’s my trouble, Jesus — getting up again.
I don’t like being down, but it’s such an effort to get up again. It’s miserable on the ground, but there’s something
safe about it . . . There on the ground, I can think about the past. . . what I’ve achieved . . . or I can dream dreams and live other people’s lives and not my own.
Jesus, help me up! Help me live a life worthy of your Gospel.
A cross is not just a piece of wood but everything that makes life difficult. Leonardo Boff

What is keeping you from living — fear, poor health,disappointment in love, problems with children, finances? Ask Jesus to help you with it. Tape the paper on the floor . Then walk over it.
Art: Peace Be Still, by Hanna Cheriyan Varghese
Song: “Trouble of This World,” performed by Mahalia Jackson

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Cross Walkers


Station Two- Jesus Takes Up His Cross

Jesus Takes Up His Cross

In the painting The Light of Conscience, Jesus is alone at a long table. Here, the evening before his arrest, he shared a final meal with his disciples. Now, they have all left him. “Will you also go away?” Jesus once said to his close companions, when things were going badly. It seems they took him at his word.

Jesus is waiting….there is a seat for you at the table. Do you dare take it?

In all of history, no more unique requirement was ever given to become a member of any group. For those wishing to join his company, Jesus never required high intelligence, a college education, athletic abilities, artistic talent, or previous experiences.

His one requirement, so simple yet shockingly difficult:

“If you wish to be my follower, you must take up your cross [daily], deny your very self, and follow me.a442ad99dcec4b3aa5a18be8556fb3b8


If a man cannot be a Christian where he is, he cannot be a Christian anywhere . . . The elect are whosoever will, and the non-elect whosoever won’t. Henry Ward Beecher

Come to me, all you who labor and are

overburdened…Shoulder my yoke and learn from
me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
Matthew 11:28-29

Art: The Light of Conscience, by Jorge Alexandre Rodriguez
Song: “Draw Me Close,” performed by Michael W. Smith

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Condemned He Remains Silent

He has no need for words
His life spoke for him.
His entire life is the answer to questions.
He set out to witness the love and justice of God to all creation.
He chose people over convention every time: He cured on the Sabbath, mixed with foreigners, talked of God to women and played with children.

His attempts to build a better world threatened the establishment . . and they killed him for it.
At this first station we are reminded that the goal in life is not to avoid condemnation. No one does. Life’s great challenge is simply to decide who will condemn us and why. If we were better people, perhaps we would be condemned more often.

…Do not fear people’s taunts,
do not be alarmed by their insults,
for the moth will eat them like clothing
the grub will devour them like wool;
but my saving justice will last forever
and my salvation for all generations.
Isaiah 51:7-8

If Jesus Christ were to come today, people would not even crucify him. They would ask him to dinner and hear what he has to say and make fun of him. Thomas Carlyle

Song: “Testify to Love,” performed by Avalon

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Frederick Buechner turned my heart  to Jesus. His books moved me then to read about God; and they move me now to write about Him.

What better way to launch this blog than by quoting from the man himself:


“I this dark world where you and I see so little because of our unrecognizing eyes, he, whose eye is on the sparrow, sees each one of us as the child in red.

And I believe that because he sees us, not even in the darkness of death are we lost to him or lost to each other.

I believe that whether we recognize him or not, or believe in him or not, or even know his name, again and again he comes and walks a little way with us along whatever road we’re following.

And I believe that through something that happens to us, or something we see, or somebody we know – who can ever guess how or when or where? – he offers us, the way he did at Emmaus, the bread of life, offers us a new hope, a new vision of light that not even the dark world can overcome.”

from  Secrets in the Dark / Frederick Buechner


Does this ring true for you?

Why, why not?