After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.
Jesus’s sacrifice for us was thoroughly selfless and purely perfect. Humans sacrifices’ for others can never be perfect because that is how God created us. We are fallible and imperfect. When we try to show unbiased and unconditional love and care to other human beings, we are loving and living in Jesus Christ’s image to the best of our frail, human ability. I believe that that is the way He intended it when He sacrificed Himself for us.
When Joseph of Arimathea brought Jesus’s body down from the cross and laid Him to rest, he was treating Jesus with great reverence, care, and respect. In doing so, he was not only showing his love for our Lord Jesus, but he also exhibited Jesus’s love in the gentlest way. Especially since Joseph performed this act of kindness, despite the repercussions that might have befallen him.
In our daily lives, we have the opportunity to show our love for Jesus by showing love and compassion to other people. We do this by showing kindness to a friend or family member in need, or even more difficult, showing kindness to a stranger or an enemy. Being Chaplain of the St. George Middle School, the theme of loving your enemies is one that I try to emphasize frequently, as nothing is more difficult. I believe that nothing could better embody Jesus’s love than caring for those who have wronged us. Another principle that goes along very well with kindness and compassion is respect. Just like Nicodemus showed the utmost respect for Jesus Christ by bringing Him myrrh and aloes to anoint His body, we must also show others respect.
As Christians and followers of the Lord, we all strive to keep Jesus our priority in all that we do. So, how exactly do we do that? Since Jesus sets such an astounding example for us, I believe that the best we can do is set the best example we can for others. By letting God’s light radiate through us various ways, we can truly exemplify what it means to be a follower of the Lord.
So, at the end of my homilies in chapel, I always give my peers a challenge or something to think about throughout the week. So, I will leave you with this:
What actions are you going to take to show that you are a true follower of Christ? Are you willing to love your enemies? Will you set an example for others?
Station 12 – Jesus Dies on the Cross
Hunger. Thirst. Happiness. Sadness. Anger. Delight. Health. Pain. Friendship. Betrayal. Birth. Death.
Jesus deeply connects to what it means to be human. Whether one lived in the first century or lives in the twenty-first century, being human is full of ups and downs, unexpected detours and sudden stops. Jesus embodies the fullness of humanity.
The cross represents for us the fullness of the human experience and gathers up every emotion, every aspect of a life lived in a broken, sinful world. The cross is the unwavering, unrelenting, unyielding hardness that squeezes our hearts with sorrow, that steals our breath little by little, that drains us, as we watch helplessly, of the life we hold dear.
Jesus surrenders his own life to the hard wood of the cross. Jesus offers his very own self on the cross to give us hope in the midst of all that might cause us despair. Out of the soil of sorrow and fear will sprout a new life, a resurrection life. But first Jesus must surrender to the cross, must commend his very own spirit to the care of his loving, faithful Father.
We who walk the way of the cross, who are followers of Christ Jesus, also are called to surrender our very selves to the cross. We do so trusting that as we commend our own lives, our own spirits, over the the care of our Loving God we will experience glimpses of the resurrection life that Jesus has promised, indeed, that Jesus has victoriously claimed for us by destroying death by his death thereby ushering us into newness of life in him.
As we draw near the end of our Lenten journey with Jesus we are invited to commend, to surrender, our very deepest selves to God trusting that we will experience abundant joy. Joy that strengthens us in our weakness, that promises life in the face of death. Joy which calls and sends us out into the world to proclaim the good news of Jesus’ victory over death once and for all.
-Fr. Ram Lopez
Recently my husband Richard and I saw the movie, Risen, in which Jesus’ death and resurrection are seen through the eyes of the Roman tribune Clavius. While the character Clavius is a dramatic invention, what he experiences is not. In Risen, Clavius was charged with carrying out the sentence of Jesus’ crucifixion. As Jesus hangs on the cross as a common criminal, there are some who see something different about him. An awestruck Roman soldier quietly tells Clavius, “This man was innocent.” Pontius Pilate later says, “It’s as if he wanted to be sacrificed.”
But Jesus did not simply die to make a statement, there is – there has to be – more to his sacrifice. I have read that, in being crucified, Jesus entered fully into our human experience of pain, that we can then take comfort in knowing that he has felt suffering. While there is some merit to that view, I do not think it is complete. One of my spiritual directors put it this way:
“Jesus died to lead us through our suffering to a better, stronger place. While the suffering might continue, what changes is how we view and process what we experience. God’s presence in our suffering is more than mere comfort, it is transformative. We move from victims to victors as our faith converts our hurt to healing, our injury to strength, and our experience into gift. It moves from pain to gift when we then stand with another going through what we’ve been through and help them through their ordeal, converting hurt to healing, etc.”
In Risen, the disciple Bartholomew exclaims, “Our only weapon is love!” As we follow Jesus’ example of love, the world is transformed.
Let us pray:
Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name. Amen.
Collect from Morning Prayer, Rite II, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)
Station 10 – Jesus’ Clothes Are Taken Away
When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, 24 so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says, “They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” So the soldiers did these things. – John 19:23-24
Jesus Christ, God with Us, surrendered himself to us through his love on the day He was born to Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem. He put no conditions on his surrender other than that we witness his love for us and love him in return.
It is one thing to sacrifice one’s self for a cause, say in a battle or in a life-long struggle, or by dedicating one’s own life to something or someone that is dearly loved. By all Human standards, it is quite another to stand by and allow one’s self to be tortured and humiliated by one’s oppressors when one simply doesn’t have to. Isn’t that true? Who would? Certainly not God himself!
But wait, He did just that. God as Jesus came to us all-in with his love for Humanity. He left nothing out, held nothing back, and He never changed the rules after the figurative game began. Jesus stepped right up and took everything we could dish out to him. In our best Human form we betrayed him, we beat him nearly to death, and we took from him everything we could; right down to the clothes he wore and every last bit of his human dignity.
Yet he carried that cross and let us nail him to it with our deadly intent. He hung out in the sun dying and still he asked his Father to forgive us – forgive us – for having put him there. He died naked, beaten, bleeding and broken and all the while asking us to join him in Heaven. How can I not love that man for His gift?
Those of us who wish to die in peace sleeping in our own beds might take a moment to reflect on Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, who gave all that up to die as He did for no other reason than that He loved us so very much. Unconditionally. Eternally. And He still does.
As the collection of small children and adults walked up to the Ninth Station, the children wailed, “Jesus fell again!” Their concern for Jesus was palpable. Over a dozen parishioners, young and old, were touring the outdoor Stations of the Cross under the guidance of Director of Family Ministries Happy Wilson. For two consecutive Sundays as part of St. George Church’s C 3:16 Family Ministry, Wilson had led families through the fourteen stations, discussing the colorful tiles depicting Jesus’s progression to crucifixion. She had concealed a plastic egg near each station which contained a symbol of the event on the tile. The children were immediately focused on finding the egg and identifying how it related to the tile. My granddaughters Corgan and Parker Bankey can still describe the things that were in the eggs, especially the ones they found.
Until their tour of the Stations of the Cross, most children’s perceptions of Easter revolved around new spring outfits, Easter egg hunts, and school holidays. Happy and positive, right? Although many of the children knew intellectually that Easter was about the resurrection of Christ, most had not absorbed the concept of the horrific suffering required to prepare Jesus for resurrection. On the second tour day as the children reviewed the Stations they had seen previously, their comments showed that they had gained a more profound understanding of the Easter reality.
Have we refrained from telling our children of the heinous nature of Jesus’s suffering because we thought they were too young to understand it or have we just assumed that they would “get it” with little explanation? Or have we waited for their spiritual studies teachers to impart the knowledge? Those of us adults who accompanied the children on the tour and heard their comments felt their compassion and empathy for Christ grow with their knowledge. Our children, even the littlest ones, can grasp and value the resurrection story.
I walked the Stations with the children and another time with a group of adults led by Father Ram. I wondered how many of us, including myself, think about the cross in terms of a nice piece of James Avery jewelry or the now-ubiquitous crucifix wall seen in many homes and work places. Have we sanitized our perception of the cross to be a wardrobe accessory instead a symbol of our Lord’s pain?
I would encourage everyone to take advantage of the lovely setting of the St. George courtyard to walk prayerfully through the Stations of the Cross and examine your own perceptions of Jesus’s pain. I know it has made me examine my own.
Once a child is conceived, mothers become selfless and worrisome. The commitment to herself vanishes and is replaced with concern for the child, both in terms of the immediate moment and the future, simultaneously. Jesus must have been aware of the struggles parents face in raising a family. The power of love and sorrow, felt in moments of pride and shame, brought on by children can never be severed. The finality is always an unconditional love for them.
Acts of terrorism in schools affect me deeply. Being a mother and teacher reinforces daily feelings of an unknown outcome. Watching the news, reading the horrific instances in an article, or watching videos during lock-down trainings stir up feelings of compassion for all involved. The most innocent of human beings, children, are often the target of individuals who are lost or broken. Everyday I pray and entrust all five of my children’s safety to the Lord. My faith gives me peace in this often times tumultuous world.
Personally, to weep means finally letting go of all the built up emotion whether it is sadness, anger, or happiness. So as I reflect on Jesus telling the women to weep for themselves and their children, it means to let go of the worry and to trust. Trust he can handle the situation. Trust it’s all in his plan for life here on earth.
This Lenten season the youth of the St. George Youth Group challenged themselves to go into the wilderness as Jesus did. Their video, “Tacos Just Aren’t That Important” tells the story of how our St. George Youth are typically tempted- by tacos. As satisfying as tacos are, it’s always important to realize that things of this world pale in comparison to the love, grace, and mercy of Jesus.” Click here and enjoy.
Are you called to serve by providing health care at Camp Capers this summer? Meredith Rogers, Program Director at Camp Capers asks us to share the following:
We are seeking weekly Health Care Providers at Camp Capers.
The Health Care Provider is responsible for:
- overseeing the health and safety of campers and staff by providing health care
- maintaining accurate and detailed medical records according to state and American Camp Association Standards
- providing minor First Aid and overseeing First Aid procedures and supplies
- helping train summer staff on their role for providing health care
- screening all campers and staff who are arriving to camp
- supervise campers and staff who need to stay in the health care center overnight for reasons of illness
- oversee sanitary conditions throughout camp.
Weeks in question are: June 19-25, July 17-23, July 25-29, July 31-August 6, and August 7-13. There is no limit to how many weeks an applicant can serve. Compensation, private room, and board all offered.
Desire to work with children and young adults a must. Current licensure in the following health care disciplines are all acceptable for consideration: LVN, EMT, RN, CNP, Nursing or Medical Students, et al.
To submit a letter of interest and resume or to inquire about the job description and more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, Camp Capers Program Director.
I wonder if you have ever suffered a devastating blow in your life – lost a child, lost a sibling, a parent or your spouse? Have you suffered from a debilitating illness which left you uncertain whether it was better to live or to die? Have you ever suffered from depression? These are just a few situations where our Faith can be put to the test.
Many years ago, I was in charge of a very important and stressful operation running a major crude oil pipeline in Alaska with 500 people working for me and a multi-million-dollar budget. All was going well and I was on top of the world. Then one day, out of the blue, I was told I was fired. Yes, fired for no other reason than my bosses did not like that I had disagreed with an order that I felt was neither best nor safe for the organization – therefore I was the wrong person for that job. My first reaction was not anger, but disbelief and concern for my future and the future of my family.
I gathered up my things and rushed downtown to where my wife was working. She too was shocked but she comforted me and assured me of her love, and the certainty that God was with us. Very soon we found ourselves in our church at prayer.
Over time with support from family and friends and with the deeply felt presence of God, things recovered and we survived the ordeal. I found a new job which led to even better opportunities and brought me new hope and deeper faith. Looking back, I realize that I was very depressed for many months and actually annoyed that the company thought they had softened the blow by offering financial and psychological help that was really worthless. My faith in the Lord was what carried me those days and nights.
This station, number 7, is traditionally where Jesus falls for the second time. It does not appear in the Gospels but has traditionally been observed as a mark of the despair and desolation that humans can experience and demonstrates the heavy weight, sometimes almost unbearable, that we can feel upon our shoulders at such a time. Even surrounded by family and friends, as Jesus was, this weight is more than we can bear. How much more so must it have been for Him knowing that He was to suffer crucifixion and carry on His shoulders the weight of all the sin of mankind. He had probably been flogged. He had been stripped of clothing and humiliated, then forcibly dressed again and forced to march to His death carrying His own cross. This was physical agony on top of mental anguish of a degree that we cannot begin to imagine.
Let us pray:
We adore you O Christ and we bless you, because by your death and resurrection you have redeemed this world. We love you for you compassion and your faithfulness to us sinners. We pray in your name – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.