- Find a quiet place, sit down, take a couple of deep breaths.
- Imagine you are in Jerusalem. You are part of a crowd watching something. Smell the smells, hear the shouting, feel the bustle, taste the dust. The noise gets louder.
- You look up and there’s Jesus carrying His cross. He doesn’t look like Jesus. His head is bleeding from the crown of thorns. His back is pasted in dried blood from the scourging. He is stumbling under the weight of the cross and His own human weakness. You have trouble watching and keep averting your eyes.
- You follow the crowd to Golgotha. You can’t see much, only hear the echoing sounds of the hammer pounding the nails into the flesh of Jesus. Then He is lifted up between two others and hangs tormented before everyone. You hear Him say something – something about forgiving.
- Suddenly you are aware of someone beside you. It is a person who has hurt you in your life. You are astonished that they are there as well. Annoyed, you turn and look at Jesus. Jesus is looking at that person with such love and tenderness then forgives them, right in front of you! You feel compelled to look at the person now and they look different. Something has changed in them. Their features are less harsh, their demeanor more humble. You hardly recognize them.
- Then you hear your own name. You look up and there is Jesus looking at you with the same love and tenderness He had looked at the person beside you. You see His lips move and suddenly realize He is saying words of forgiveness to you, personally.
- Uncharacteristic of you, you feel the need to take the hand of that person beside you and together you watch Jesus die – for you, for them, and for the world.
- Pause and feel your feelings.
- You realize suddenly that you are alone before the cross. Mary, the mother of Jesus, and John are standing close by to Jesus. You nod at them with respect, glance furtively at Jesus, now dead, say what you need to, though words seem to escape you. You turn and walk back into your life, now changed forever.
God bless you.
Rector, St. Peter’s Anglican Church