Night has fallen.

Several members of our community wrote meditations for a Good Friday community art project. We share them here, grateful for community voices and relationships on this lonely night.  Thank you Robert, Stephanie, Genny, Adam, and Alan for daring to wrap words around the stations of the cross.

 Station 2:

Jesus takes up his cross, and bids us do the same. A stranger in his own land, we too are foreign to those who bend the knee to the state, market, party, or even their own voices and vices. Accused by the powers of a crime he didn’t commit, we who would follow him are accused also- of too much orthodoxy or too little, too many good works and often not enough, too much activism yet too little impact. He picks up the instrument of his own death: not a trinket, not a bauble, not a point of contention regarding its symbolic meaning, but a syringe full of poison, a hangman’s noose, the electric chair he’ll strap himself into. He knows what his fate will be, and embraces it, knowing it is the only way to save us- not from him, but from ourselves, from our own merciless self-condemnation.

Station 3 – Jesus Falls.






Hands, feet, face – all caked with dust that tastes like the

                remainder of the kin-dom dream (so close!)

                now discarded for reality (pragmatic).

The young ones wonder –

                should we still follow through?

The old ones breath in –

                could we?

The dust simply asks the people to see this moment,

                to record it in your very bones so that every movement of your life

                enacts its memory.

Jesus in the Dust, Again  (Station 7)

I’ve heard privilege called “a special entitlement to immunity,” and, “having the option not to think about something.”  Privilege is tricky – it looks different on different people, and gets uniquely lived in this weird combination of systemic advantage/disadvantage and personal context.  Our fragility invites us to clutch privilege close, using what we’ve got to build a kind of immunity-fort…privilege, I think, is being able to avert my eyes from a human being who keeps falling down into the dust, broken and chewed up for any number of reasons.  Whatever caused that suffering, it’s easier to simply cash in the privilege chips and not think about that dusty bit of God lying in the dirt. Maybe one of the paths to honestly engaging our own humanity, then, is exhaling – and looking over at the hard truths written on dusty faces.

Station 10: Jesus Stripped of His Clothing

Jesus you came into this world naked, bare with nothing but what was within. 

In the last hours, your purple robe, your plain but priestly covering was stripped away.  Stripped violently away to reveal the stripes on Your back,

the blood streaming from the wounds,

the parted flesh red with abuse. 

You are naked, bare, save for the crown of thorns that have been pushed down into your scalp and face,

with crimson streams flowing down. 

Covered only in the life fluid of your body,

the Paschal Lamb is




off to slaughter.

 Station 11: Jesus Nailed to the Cross

I can still hear the sound. 

A terrible crack, a thud, a loud moan, the sound of breaking bone and severed sinew, over

and over. 

I think, that was too much.  I cannot bear it.  My sweet Savior being so brutally abused.  Then I realize, it was only one hand,

only the first nail. 

I can’t stand to watch, the pain burns inside me as I hear a 2nd unmistakable sound,

the crack, thud, over and over

and then it is done. 

My sweet Lord is stretched out, as far as his arms will go,

agonizingly spread open,

in His final invitation,

His final offering,

in a distance as far as the east is from the west,

showing us

the extent of His love.

 “Get off your cross, honey! Somebody needs the wood!”

Dolly Parton as Dr. Shirley in Straight Talk

Christian tradition does not ask us to contemplate Jesus’ death and suffering because we need to feel guilty. We journey through the stations on Good Friday because we need to remember what too often happens to those prophets and messengers who call us to divinely inspired living here on earth. The crucifixion accounts comprise a very short portion of each of the gospels. Why? Because while we should reflect on the human actions that set in motion Jesus’ crucifixion, the gospels call us to continue Jesus’ work to create a more loving and just world. Rather than getting up on that cross with Jesus or identifying with the nails going into his hands, I think Holy Wisdom calls us to take down that cross and use the wood and nails to build a better world.

Station 12: Jesus Dies on the Cross

From the sixth hour to the ninth hour

it was darkness

In the brightest part of the day

It was darkness

With just a few spectators and friends and His mother

They await in darkness

The body is breathing so slowly, faintly, painfully,

words come out in hoarse whispers

“Adoni, Adoni why have You forsaken me”

And the darkness envelops them and Him

The bitter cup of sin is offered, then drank

The sin of all times, before/after and beyond

The rancid taste of our shortcomings

Is consumed in one last act


“It is finished”


Good Friday is also Earth Day. While we remember Jesus’ suffering we also lament the suffering of our planet. A Litany.

God the Creator, humanity now lives in a nuclear age

Earth have mercy

God the Christ, embodied on earth,

Earth have mercy

God, the Holy Spirit, moving on the face of the troubled waters

Earth have mercy

Heart of Jesus the Christ, stirred by disaster,

Earth have mercy

Heart of Jesus the Christ, source of all consolation,

Earth have mercy

Heart of Jesus the Christ, our life and resurrection,

Earth have mercy

Heart of Jesus the Christ, our peace and our reconciliation,

Earth have mercy

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