Friday, April 20, 2012

The Cross

My adventure continues with the twelve week course The Artist's Way and I must say it has been very enlightening and freeing thus far!

Every morning I write my three pages before I begin anything else and I have found that it is a dialogue between Papa and me.
He led me to this study and He knows what He wants me to gain from it, so, as with every other aspect of one's life, He must be included!

The weekly date with my artist child has had its ups and downs, as I explore what really brings me enjoyment.
This week was an up!

The date included a few thrift stores and a light repast, which were enjoyable. 
The highlight, however, was my walk, which took me through the Stations of the Cross.

I have heard this mentioned many times and have even perused a few stain-glass windows that depicted some of the stations, but I never really examined them in their entirety.

As I began the walk I realized that I needed to go back to my car for my notebook and pen.  At the first station many impressions were stirred within my heart and mind.  It caused me to stop and reflect on the agonizing path my Savior walked for me.

Join me, if you like, as I share what I received on this path.

The first Station was entitled Jesus Condemned to Death.
Four figures were included in the scene: Jesus, Pilate, a servant and a soldier.

Jesus'  demeanor was one of grief with no resistance.
I believe He was grieved by the fact that it had come to this.  The ignorance that surrounded Him and the future that awaited those who rejected Him had to weigh on Him also.

Pilate had his jaw set in grim determination, as he attempted to wash his hands of the whole affair.  There was an almost desperate look to his eyes, as if his thoughts were betraying his actions.

The soldier was obviously trained to follow orders with no thought to whether they were appropriate or not.

Then there was the servant. 
With eyes cast down he held the bowl as Pilate washed his hands.
I know that there is no servant mentioned in the Scriptures, but I can very easily imagine one being there, as it wouldn't have been unusual for Pilate to have servants ready at his beck and call to do his bidding.  The Word says that "he took water."  That implies receiving it.  Either way, here are the thoughts that came in regard to this servant.

The servant's face was not harsh, but gentle and humble.  I imagined that he often had many thoughts running around in his head, which he carefully kept to himself, as he observed the behavior of his master.
It would not have been far fetched to think that he knew who Jesus was and maybe even heard Him speak.  If so, then he knew a lot more than Pilate!
I could imagine him first being incredulous and then having sorrow fill his heart.

Station Two shows Jesus beginning to carry His Cross.  Again grief etched His face, along with resignation.  It was the way He had to go. 
The artist sculpted Jesus hands open, as the soldiers laid the Cross across his shoulders. 
Hands open to receive anyone who would come!
The expressions on the soldiers faces were cruel.  It seems to me that, at times, pure goodness, pure light causes evil to grow-puff itself up in self-defense.  Eyes and heart stay blinded to the truth.

Moving onto Station Three Jesus has fallen.  I do not find that in Scripture, but I can imagine that carrying His heavy Cross would cause anyone to stumble.
His Spirit was willing, but even His flesh is weak.

Jesus' mother Mary is the focus of the fourth Station.  In Scripture she is at the foot of the Cross once He is hanging on it.  However, He must have been grieving for the woman who mothered Him on this earth.  She definitely grieved.  How could a mother not?

Station five is Simon helps Jesus.  This scene is mentioned in three of the Gospels.  John is the only one that omits this part of the story.
 Simon was pressed into service.  He was given the task of carrying the Cross for Jesus.
Whether he ever met or heard Jesus before Simon could not have ever been the same after this experience.
There are so many stories left unfinished!  I am looking forward to finding out the rest of them once I get to Heaven!

Veronica's veil is the focus of the sixth Station.  Legend has it that she wiped Jesus face with her veil and the outline of His face was left on the veil.
This is not mentioned at all in Scripture and through further investigation I found that there is no mention of it anywhere until the year one thousand eleven.
At the Station my thoughts went to the women who did follow Jesus, who probably longed to minister to Him in any way possible.  They were later found at the foot of the Cross.

Station Seven states and depicts Jesus falling yet a second time.  This has no Scriptural basis, but it stirred my heart, nonetheless.
My Savior struggled and possibly fell, but kept going; continuing to Golgotha for me.
So He could die for me!

Jesus' words to the weeping women, who followed Him, were the subject of the eighth Station.
Would I have been one of them? 
He tells them to weep for themselves and their children. 
If this is what the world does to the Son of God, imagine what is coming!

Once again we find Jesus falling according to Station nine.  Again I was reminded that His determination was for me.

Station ten shows Jesus being stripped of His garments.
It struck me afresh how He was mistreated.
No respect
Given no honor
Definitely received no praise
My LORD and Savior endured being despised by His creation and finally the Cross.
All for me.

The next Station was very moving.
Jesus being nailed to the Cross.
The artist rendered this scene in such a way that it appears that Jesus is looking right into the onlooker's eyes.
Did those doing the nailing not sense or see who this Man was?
How can man be so cruel to other men?
Even more so, how can they be so blind to God in their midst?
We seek to protect and provide for ourselves and end up with ashes in the end.
Meanwhile totally overlooking His Presence and provision which alone satisfies??!!

Jesus is Crucified and Dies is what the plague says at Station Twelve.

There are two sets of stairs you must climb to get to the foot of the Cross.
There I sat.
Literally, at the foot of the Cross.
Women are weeping there.
I can hear them.
Oh, that is my voice among all the voices.
Sorrow and joy are in my tears.  Sorrow that my sin had a part in putting Him there and joy that He would do such a thing for me!
Oh, how He loves me!

The grief of those who had been at the foot of the Cross was compounded by the fact that they did not know or understand how the story would end.
Or should I say begin?

At the following Station the sign reads Jesus is taken from the Cross.
The scene has three people ministering to His body.
I do not know whether anyone did this.
I am certain He wasn't gently removed from the Cross.
To the soldiers it was just one more body of a criminal.  The sooner they got the bodies down, the sooner they could be relieved of duty.

Of course, the next Station, number fourteen, is entitled Jesus is Placed in the Tomb.
From then on Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were no longer secret followers!

The final Station states Jesus is Risen!
To which I reply, He is Risen Indeed!!

What a wonderful gift walking this path has been for me!
At times I do meditate on the path Jesus took for me.  This brought it to life for me in a way no words or movie ever could. 
I sat at the foot of the Cross!

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