Daily Dose, Feb. 24 — Holiness & Lent

  As they led him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus. A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. But Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For the days are surely coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us’; and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?” Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots to divide his clothing. (Luke 23:26-34) It was February 2008. I was part of a group touring Israel, and we had made our way into the “Old City” of Jerusalem. We were literally walking on ancient streets. I remember stopping at an intersection, looking up and noticing a relief carved into the corner of a building. It had a Roman numeral and a small picture. When we inquired of our guide, he explained that this was one of the historic stations of the cross. As part of their acts of devotion, early Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem retraced the route of Jesus as he carried his cross to his death. By the 16th century, the route this pilgrimage took through Jerusalem came to be called the Via Dolorosa, the Way of Sorrow. Along the Way, certain points on the journey (stations) were associated with specific events recounted (or implied) in the Gospel accounts. As you move through Lent and toward Christ’s passion and crucifixion, consider creating a mental version of the stations of the cross. Use these stops along the way as opportunities to pray and to give thanks for what God did for you through Christ. Let them propel you to repentance. Let them stir gratitude within you. Let all of them remind you that Christ literally gave his life for the world! The traditional route includes 14 stations/stops. Here are 8 to get you started: Station 1: Pilate Condemns Jesus to Die Station 2: Jesus Accepts His Cross Station 3: Simon Helps Carry the Cross Station 4: Jesus Speaks to the Women Station 5: Jesus Is Stripped of His Garments Station 6: Jesus Is Nailed to the Cross Station 7: Jesus Cares for His Mother Station 8: Jesus Dies on the Cross If you need a reminder of any of these stops, you can read Matthew 26-27, Mark 14-15, Luke 22-23, and John 18-19. -- Rev. Brad Greene