7. Jesus Bears the Cross
Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
All: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
Quiet moment of asking: “At this moment, when the Cross is thrown onto your shoulders, help me to know your inner pain and help me not to turn away from your great suffering”.
We listen to the words of the Gospel of John and imagine these moments when those shouts of “crucify him!” grew deafening, as the Cross was roughly forced on Jesus and as he, already seriously injured, began to make his way to Golgotha. But before he reached that place, he would stumble and fall under the weight of the Cross at least three times.
When they saw him, the chief priests and the guards shouted, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and crucify him. I find no guilt against him.” ... They cried out, “Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!” Pilate said, “Shall I crucify your king?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king except Caesar.” So at that Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. They then took charge of Jesus, and carrying his own cross he went out to the Place of the Skull, or, as it is called in Hebrew, Golgotha.
John 19: 6, 15-17
NOTICE – A silent contemplation moment
As the Spirit of God continues to hold you firm in this moment, even though there might be the temptation to look away, allow yourself to recognise the different feelings and responses that are arising in you as Jesus accepts the Cross and begins to walk towards the place of crucifixion. By now he knows that he is condemned and that even more suffering is just moments away. What touches you at this moment? Is there anything you feel you want to say to him or is there some gesture, some touch that you would like to make?
Good and gracious God, give us the same strength that Jesus had when he was made to carry his cross to Calvary. We often have crosses to carry too, and for some of us these are very heavy. When that happens we can be quick to turn away from you, and that makes it hard for us to live with ourselves. It’s not easy when our difficulties seem too much for us.
As we look at Jesus falling for the first time, help us to see what our sins, and the sin of the world, really are. Help us to face up to our selfishness and admit that we have a part in the injustice of the world. And help us, like Jesus, to get up and begin again, knowing how much you want to forgive us.
But although this was not easy for Jesus either, he went on his painful journey because he knew that you were with him. Much of the pain that your son Jesus was feeling came from our sinfulness and selfishness. He loved everyone but not everyone accepted his love or returned it. That must have felt heavy in his heart, as heavy as the Cross was on his shoulders. Help us, Lord, to see that you love us and support us in the tough times of our lives.
Together we pray; Lord, we want to walk beside you in your suffering. Forgive us; and help us to see you in the suffering of the poor.