On Good Friday afternoon we went and prayed the Stations of the Cross in church. We use a booklet, Everyone's Way of the Cross, and it is very good. Our stained glass windows are our stations in the main church, so our deacon and cross bearers walk around with others from the congregation. The prayers are beautiful and make you think about how you are doing carrying your own cross and serving Jesus with your life.
But, they are so sanitized and in such contrast with what really happened on Good Friday. Why do I say this? On Good Friday evening, we again prayed the stations with our Spanish community, which are Living Stations or re-enactments of each station. And they are not sanitized at all. The mob is angry, the cross is heavy, the Roman soldiers brutal as the scream and whip Jesus. And then, just when I think it will not become any more real, the criminals and Jesus are stripped, standing with nothing on but a loincloth and are 'nailed' to their crucifixes. Jesus is raised up first, and he has on a crown of thorns and is dirty and bloody and he painfully speaks his last words to the thieves, the people, and his mother and John. I came away thinking that was more like what really happened on Calvary, not what we read from a book in the afternoon.
And then, I watched The Passion with my husband and another couple. And, there again, what was done to Jesus was brutal and he suffered it all for me, for us.
So different from those little booklets we pray from for the Stations of the Cross. I could not stop thinking that we have taken the reality of the crucifixion and sanitized it too far. It is almost unrecognizable from what really happened. It was a great indignity and maybe we do not want to think about it. It is easier to keep the reality at arms length, in a little booklet, with nice stained glass pictures of each station. Otherwise, we may to have to really consider how we are doing in carrying our cross.