Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday—Stations of the Cross, 5-9

Good Friday
Stations of the Cross

5—Simon helps carry the cross
Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases… Is 53.4

Who are the people today who help suffering people bear their burdens?

6—Veronica offers her veil to Jesus

Who are the bearers of the image of Jesus today?
I think of a Muslim—Farhan, elected mayor of Beit Ummar in 2006, in the first elections under the Palestinian Authority. Upon election he was immediately arrested by Israeli soldiers and imprisoned for being affiliated with Hamas. Sitting in his mother’s home, with his youngest son, Salah Ad-Din, on his lap, he told us, “Every good action, even if very small, gives me more hope—a hole for the light to pass through.” This Hamas leader told us, “I teach my sons and daughters to love, not hate; I give them the courage of love, not to hate. Love needs courage; hate does not.” But, he says, “love is stronger than hate.” He tells us this is what the prophet Mohammad taught: “Hate is very dangerous for the human being. War is easy; peace is hard.”

Photo: Farhan and Salah Ad-Din

7—Jesus falls the second time
He learned obedience through what he suffered Heb 5.8

Almost every young Palestinian man I have met has been arrested and served time in prison. Usually it is for throwing stones in a demonstration against the Israeli soldiers and tanks in their villages. They tell about the network of Palestinian elders in prison who taught them about non-violent resistance. In prison they have studied Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., so that when they are released, they are equipped to continue the resistance.
8—Jesus meets the weeping women

I think of Eran Efrati, the former Israeli soldier who was in Denver in February. He told the story of his gradual awakening to what Israel was really doing in the West Bank. One pivotal moment was in Hebron, when he heard a mother’s cry as she mourned her son’s death. The night before, in the confusion and darkness, her son had been killed by some19-year-old soldiers. When he heard her cry, he realized it was the cry of his grandmother, waking in the night with nightmares about her time in Auschwitz.

Photo of women weeping at the death of Arafat Jaradat, killed in Israeli custody, February, 2013.

9—Jesus falls the third time
All we like sheep have gone astray
We have all turned to our own way…
(Is 53.6)

By Station nine, I am despairing. Will Jesus’ suffering never end? Will the Palestinians’ suffering never end? The US supports Israel’s human rights violations with our tax dollars. As a country, we have lost our way. All we like sheep… It’s not like the swelling choruses of the Christmas oratorio. It is like carrying the cross and falling under its weight.

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