Putting words to the wonder

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Cross Walkers – He Is Risen


Love is the person of the resurrection — scooping up the dust and chanting, LIVE.  Emily Dickinson

“He is not here.” (Mark 16:6)

He has risen!

Words of life.

Words of destiny.

Words of “good news”!

And the good news is that he is alive


This very moment. In our lives.

“I live, yet not I, but Christ living in me.” (Galatians 2:20)

. . . with all the power of his love

. . . with all the force of his hope

he gives us the grace to

see in all the dead ends of our past

his invitation to new life.

“And look, I am with you always;

yes, to the end of time.”

Matthew 28:20



Photo: Monastery on Skelling Michael, Irish Tourist Board

Art: Christ the Door, by Fan Pu

Song: “We Will Stand,” performed by Darren Coley

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Cross Walkers – Station 13- Jesus is Taken Down From The Cross


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She is there. His mother.

Almost swallowed up in the jeering mob.

She is always there. Always involved. Even to this.

“Near the cross of Jesus, stood his mother.” (John 19:35)

His suffering is over now.

He is at peace.

The chalice has passed,

But only after it had been drained.

His limp body rests on her lap.

She holds him as only a mother could.

Memories flood her heart.

She had said:

“Behold your maidservant. Be it done to me according to your will.” (Luke 1:38)

She had taught him how to talk, to walk, to read, to love.

“Son, why have you done this to us? You see your father and I have been searching for you in sorrow.” (Luke 2:48)

“Do not fear, Mary. You have found favor with God.” (Luke 1:30)

“All ages to come shall call me blessed.” (Luke 1:48)

No philosophy,

No ideology can explain all this.


Firm Belief

“All this” was a matter of love.

For Reflection

This station, with its spectre of irrevocable loss, its futile efforts and wasted dreams, drains the human soul to the point of numbness. Its questions are straightforward: Can anything worse be imagined? Are we, like Mary, prepared to let go of everything we ever wanted, so that God’s will can come another way?

There are some things that can be learned by the head. Christ crucified can only be learned by the heart. 

Charles Hadley Spurgeon

. . . Who can rescue or comfort you,

young daughter of Zion?

For huge as the sea is your ruin.

Lamentations 2:13 





Art: Pieta, by Kathe Kollwitz

Song: “Mary, Did You Know?” performed by Kathy Mattea


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Cross Walkers Station 8: Jesus Comforts the Women of Jerusalem


Even in his agony, he would find words for others. Standing before Pilate, he had “no further response.” (Mark 15:5)

Now others were suffering. They needed consolation.

“Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but for yourselves and your children.” (Luke 23:28)

His compassion penetrates all the Jerusalems where mothers weep. Weep over children who sit in marbled silence like rows of tombstones . . .over children starving and unaware of scraps falling from the tables of those with bigger and better barns.

Gold star mothers still meet, still weep, quiet but unforgetting tears.


It’s easy to absorb numbers.

1,000 here . . . 10,000 there . . .

Numbers benumb.

If we concentrate through a mother’s heart

on just one human being . . .

All the love invested . . .

All the care given . . .

All the education afforded . . .

All the dreams vanished . . .

All the potential unrealized.

One precious unique human being — dead or dying

The horror and ugliness . . . bearable only as a cross.

The loveliest masterpiece of the heart of God is the heart of a mother.    Saint Therese de Lisieux


My eyes are worn out with weeping

. . . my heart plummets at the destruction

of my young people.

. . . the children and babies grow faint . . .

They keep saying to their mothers:

“Where is some food?”

as they faint like wounded men in the streets of the city. . .

as they breathe their last on their mothers’ breasts.

Lamentations 2:11-12






Photo: A Frail Baby Enfolded in the Arms of Mother Teresa, by

      S.K. Dutt

Song: “Wonderful, Merciful Savior,” performed by Selah


Cross Walkers – Station 7 : Jesus Falls For the Second Time



He falls again.

Such a short distance from his last fall.

There is no record of anyone helping him up.

“I looked about, but there was no one to help . . no one to lend support.” (Isaiah 63:5)

The cross

Pins him to the ground.

The sins of the universe converged in that piece of wood.

Wood that could be used for a fire

giving warmth, creating fellowship, bringing people together.

Wood that could be used to build homes, schools, churches,

fostering security and sharing.

Instead — forced into a crucifix

“a stumbling block . . . an absurdity.”

He is determined to go on.

This is not a script. . . .

This is brutal reality.

There is no easy, sophisticated way

to renew the world.

He must struggle to die.

We watch him get up,

rise from the dust of human oppression, and

move on.

Every step toward the place called “The Skull”

Urged on

By the force of our sin —

By the depth of his love.

He is determined to complete his mission.

“No one takes my life from me: I lay it down freely.”

                              (John 10:18)

For Reflection

When the job disappears

When the project flounders

When sickness slows us down

When all our efforts seem to be for nothing

We want to quit.

But when we are spending our energies and

emotions on something great enough,

Quitting is not an option

it is worth every effort of our lives.

We seldom realize fully that we are sent to fulfill God-given tasks. We act as if we were simply dropped down in creation and have to decide how to entertain ourselves until we die. But each of us has a mission in life. We were sent into the world by God just as Jesus was. [As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world — John 17:18.] Once we start living our lives with that conviction, we will soon know what we were sent to do. Henri Nouwen

Yet ours were the sufferings he was bearing
…ours the sorrows he was carrying.
He was being wounded for our rebellions
crushed because of our guilt,
the punishment reconciling us fell on him,
and we have been healed by his bruises.
Isaiah 53:4-5 



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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