Extracts from: The Way of the Cross: Meditations on the Death of Jesus

by Katharine Smith : Illustrated by George Boxley


Jesus calls us to be lights in this world. During Lent and Passiontide we can learn from watching and listening to Jesus as he shows what true light looks like in some of the darkest places in this world.

As we tell again the story of our Lord’s Passion, it may be that it unfolds to us a little more of the mystery of the suffering and death of our incarnate God, the triumph of his redemptive love and his power to heal us and to bring us to fullness of life as children of God.

I hope that these readings, meditations and prayers will open up ways of exploring the events they portray. They are not written to provide answers but rather to raise more questions and to hold those questions in the light of Christ, the light of the world.

1.  Jesus in agony in the Garden of Gethsemane

(Jesus) faces cruelty and humiliation from within his darkness so that he can stay with us, whatever we face in our own darkness. He knows the cold fear that grips heart and mind; he knows what it is to face certain suffering and death. He knows the extremes of a grief that sweats blood.

In the life of Jesus shines the light of the world and even at its deepest and most terrifying the darkness will not overcome his light.

2.  Jesus betrayed by Judas and arrested

We can be overwhelmed by the betraying darkness, add to its weight and send it on its way to destroy other lives. Or we can watch Jesus. In one simple kiss Jesus accepts and absorbs the darkness; he transforms it, redeeming the act of a friend turned enemy into a sign that even that darkness cannot overcome the light of the world.

5.  Jesus judged by Pilate

Today we are still unjustly accusing, judging and oppressing others because we cannot allow truth and justice to lighten our darkness. We deny the equality of all people, we refuse freedom of speech and tolerance of beliefs not our own. We twist all we see and hear too justify our own self-interests.

8.  Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry the cross

“I can’t remember if he actually said the words ‘Simon, follow me’, but somehow I heard them. They seemed to come from far away and long ago. I heard the voice and saw the smile before it was contorted with pain. I felt the breeze coming off the water, the turning of the tide, and the certain knowledge that life would never be the same. I lost all thought for anything else and took up his cross.”

10.  Jesus is crucified

Turning their backs on the man they had treated as anything but human, they cast lots for his clothes. What sort of trophy is it that is taken off a powerless man when he can do nothing to resist? This is a man who loves his enemy even now and would gladly give his shirt or walk the extra mile. They didn’t need to take from him. They had nothing to fear from him.

12.  Jesus on the cross, his mother and his friend

As Jesus shows his love for his mother and his friend we see that there really is nothing, neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future nor any heavenly powers, neither the world above nor the world below, nothing in all creation that can separate us from God’s love in Jesus Christ even as he suffers on the cross.

14.  Jesus laid in the tomb

You who are of all things the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, have shared the vulnerability of being human. Between the manger and the tomb you lived your life among us and we beheld your glory, full of grace and truth.

15.  Jesus risen from the dead

Radiant light and life blaze out from the tomb. The world has never seen a dawn like this, heralding in a new age and a glory that will never be defeated. Resurrection power fills the air with energy, joy and excitement and the whole creation joins in with songs of triumph and praise.


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