Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Way of the Cross-2008: Station Three

WTC Memorials
I was fortunate enough to discover the 20th Annual Walk for Justice while I was in Springfield Illinois. The group was inter-denominational. The Stations were landmarks in downtown Springfield that could connect current events to Jesus today. I will review each station one at a time.

Station Three: 2nd and Adams

Station Three: Jesus falls the first time

After a long night of questioning and torture, Jesus falls while carrying his cross to Calvary. Jesus was tired, wounded, yet he got up again and continued his journey. Abandoned by his friends and disciples, he was alone, but for the continuing presence of his Father in heaven.

In the United States, post 9/11, citizens are wounded and frightened. The attack on our country by terrorists leaves the nation with a wound that may not heal for generations. And now, we are engaged in a war that many of us fear will provoke even more terrorism. Our government, not wanting its citizens to feel alone or abandoned, has moved into a “defensive mode”, developing a Department of Homeland Security and passing legislation limiting civil rights of “select persons” through the Patriot Act.

These actions are put into place to make U.S. citizens feel secure and protected. They will not! The world in which we live is a dangerous place. We try to protect ourselves and our loved ones from every peril. But as people of faith we know that our efforts at self-protection will always fall short, that it is only in God that we will find our true security.

God sent us Jesus to suffer and die for us. It is God who is our shelter, our place of safety, our place of solace. It doesn’t matter that nature of our burden, it can be personal burden or one shared by a nation, or our world. God is always present to us, surrounding us, protecting us, as our security and our strength. God will be our shelter today and tomorrow, next month, next year. That will never change. From everlasting to everlasting our God is our sole sufficiency.

God, help us not forget your promise to be our stronghold. When we give in to our anxieties and fears, let us feel your everlasting arms. Help us remember always that your love for us is so great that you sent Jesus who willingly took up his cross to give us the security of eternal life. Amen.

I liked this interpretation. I responded to September 11th like most Americans did. I do not blame my leaders for wanting to keep us safe or feeling obligated to look like they are. I understand why we would take extraordinary measures to keep us safe. However, as the readings make clear, searching for safety out of anxiety is an illusion. We must remember where our security comes from. That is easy for me to say because I am not responsible for anyone else’s safety.

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