Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday—Stations of the Cross 10-14

Good Friday
Stations of the Cross

10Jesus is stripped
They took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. Jn19.23

This week, Israeli Defense Ministry Moshe Ya’alon sized control of 984 dunams of Bethlehem land for the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, declaring it “state land.” This piece of land surrounds private Palestinian land, which will now be inaccessible to its owners. The land includes the illegal outpost of Netiv Ha’avot.

11Jesus is nailed to the cross

Reading Ha’aretz, the Israeli newspaper today, I found the story of Fuad Shehadeh, who has been hospitalized for six weeks, following an attack by Israeli settlers. Shehadeh lives in a village near Nablus, in the West Bank. He went with his friend to prune some olive trees and they were attacked as they were leaving. They ran, but one of the settlers threw a metal rod and broke Shehadeh’s leg, which immobilized him. After being beaten further, the Israeli soldier standing watching called to the settlers, “Enough,” and they left. He has ten fractures, eight on his right leg and two in his left arm. He has bruises on his head and right arm. The police have not even interviewed him, even though he is now in a hospital in Tel Aviv, being treated for his injuries. His assault was not reported in Israeli media.
Photo: Fuad Shehadeh and his son Mohammed at Ichilov Hospital. The police haven't shown up to investigate.

12Jesus dies on the cross

Jesus died, refusing to cooperate in his trial or answer to his accusers. He also rejected violence, even healing the ear of the high priest’s slave injured by Peter. In the account in Luke, Jesus forgives the criminal hanging next to him.

In Kairos Palestine, Palestinian Christians “call on the people of Israel to be our partners in peace and not in the cycle of interminable violence. Let us resist evil together, the evil of occupation and the infernal cycle of violence.” (Kairos Palestine, 4.3)

13Jesus is taken down from the cross

…when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. (Jn19.33)

Take a moment for prayer.

14Jesus is laid in the tomb

Now there was a Garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. (Jn 19.41)

This entire narrative of Jesus’ passion takes place within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. In the early years of the fourth century, the Emperor Constantine sent his mother Helena to find the holy sites and build churches. She investigated the places where pilgrims had been coming since the first century and chose the site for the Holy Sepulchre. Constantine built a church there to celebrate the resurrection. Geographically, it’s a very small space for such a large narrative. Visiting pilgrimage groups usually spend 30 minutes or so visiting the five stations that are located inside the church. 

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