Friday, 2 April 2010

The weight of the cross

2 Good Friday reflections

Simon of Cyrene

I guess I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But now I think that maybe it was the right place at the right time.

Because that guy really needed help.

He couldn’t have made it any further.

Why they chose me to shoulder his cross, I’ll never know.

But there weren’t really many other men around.

Lots of weeping women but not many men.

And when those Roman soldiers say jump, you simply ask: how high.

Especially in those days.

The oppression was really biting.

There was some sort of crackdown.

And no one was safe, no matter how good your credentials.

So I didn’t argue.

Simply took the burden from this poor criminal clearly on his last legs.

IT was doubtful if he’d even need crucified, the mess he was in.

The funny thing is – he didn’t look like a criminal.

You can usually tell.

Especially the ones that end up crucified.

They look hard and cold and menacing.

But this guy – had the softest eyes and the saddest face.

And he wasn’t defiant like they always are at that stage.

Taunting the crowds and the soldiers with nothing to lose.

This man was courteous and concerned – he was worried about me.

And he kept telling the folks who tried to show him kindness – don’t worry about me – look after each other.

So I did my bit.

Not because of the Roman soldiers – I had no choice as far as they were concerned.

But I did my bit willingly for this man, because he awakened in me a compassion such as I’ve never known before.

I did my bit.

I carried his cross.

And I’m glad I was able to serve even so late in the day.

Mary, mother of Jesus

You mothers.

You know you’d do anything for your child.

You fathers, you wouldn’t stand by and see your boy hurt.

But I did.

I stood there.

I watched him.

I heard every last groan.

Felt every last sob.

My heart wasn’t just being broken, it was being shattered to smithereens.

As I stood there.

And watched.

I couldn’t turn away.

I had to endure every last pain and torment.

I had to suffer every blow with him.

And, though my thoughts were murderous for those who were hurting my boy.

I stood there.

And watched.

I couldn’t do a thing.

I was immobilised by grief.

And by something unimaginably stronger.

The knowledge that this was God’s will for my boy.

I couldn’t understand it.

Couldn’t see what on earth this would achieve.

Couldn’t even believe that God could possibly turn this around.

But I still had to stand there.

And watch.

Knowing that I was again doing the will of God.

So, just as I said yes to God’s messenger about carrying this child.

So I said yes to standing by and waiting with him as he died.

And let me tell you.

The pain of disgrace at bearing a child out of wedlock

was nothing compared with the pain of watching that child abused

and tortured and strung up on a cross

to die an agonising death.

For with every pain filled breath he took, a part of me was cut out,

a part of me died too.

I obeyed God once and experienced the joy of motherhood.

I obeyed God as I stood before the cross

but experienced only hurt and death.

My God, why have you forsaken me?

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