Tuesday 7th April - Tuesday in Holy Week - 9th Station - Jesus Falls for the Third Time
“Amen” Sieger Koeder.
My transgressions were bound into a yoke; by his hand they were fastened together; they weigh on my neck, sapping my strength; the Lord handed me over to those whom I cannot withstand.
He passes through the city gates and falls again. The loss of blood, too much pain, the lack of sleep and he falls, the weight of the heavy cross pinning him to the ground where he just lies in the dust with no dignity or energy left to care. Amen. So be it. He had passed through those gates a week before when he had been hailed as king but now he was being forced through those gates again as a criminal - a traitor and blasphemer. He came to his own people in the city he loved and they did not receive him. He has failed and he is in too much pain, has been betrayed and denied and is just too sad. His strength is completely sapped, he falls under the weight of it all and he cannot move because he is held down by the cross. In his memory he hears his mother singing her special song to him: ‘and you will be called the prophet of the Most High; you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways and give knowledge of salvation to his people’ and he wonders how they could have got it so wrong. Through the blood dripping from his broken head he imagines the tempter creeping towards him saying ‘You still have a chance. You can save yourself if you want! Where is your God now?’ His yoke is no longer easy – he has the weight of his own suffering and that of the world on his shoulders and he croaks ‘Amen’ knowing that it means be firm, steady, trustworthy, faithful. God and the world rely on him. He will lay down his life for the sheep so he struggles to his feet, takes up his cross and staggers to Calvary.
Suffering God, we can imagine you holding out your hand as you lay under the cross hoping and praying someone, anyone, would reach out to hold it and bring you some comfort. May we be ready to take the hand of any who suffer under the weight of pain or loss or fear and know that we are holding your hand. Let others rely upon us to be firm, steady trustworthy and faithful. So be it. Amen.
The Rev’d Lis Mullen is a retired minister and member of Kendal URC