Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Station VIII: Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus to Carry the Cross

William Fairbank's "Forest Stations" 
Simon of Cyrene represents us in our normal lives, in my opinion. He was, according to the Gospel account, minding his own business, just passing through. The African man would have had no notion of the maelstrom that would draw him in.

My belief that Simon Cyrene represents us is based upon a number of thoughts. He was clearly an inherently good man, he was at first unwilling, and then relented and shared the burden with Jesus to the Golgotha. He was mind-set elsewhere, and I am sure that there were many moments when he wished that he still was. 

The life of a Christian is to follow the example not simply of Christ, but also Simon of Cyrene among others. We are called, by our baptism, to be those who share the burden with those whose strength is gone. This account acknowledges too that we won't always be willing or glad. There are many who will say that by our sinfulness in this age, we add to the weight of the cross laid across the shoulders of the crumpled Messiah. This is a moment, in a tale of destructive processes where we see sympathy - maybe even on the part of the Romans who surely had no need to commission this unwilling passer-by, but certainly on the part of a man who could have counted many places he would rather have been in those long moments. 

They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross; [Mk 15: 20]

My prayer at this Station is for all those who share life's burden with those too weak or dis-empowered to carry them for themselves. 

Lord Jesus, you were worn down by fatigue:be with those from whom life drains all energy.You needed the help of a passing stranger:give us the humility to receive aid from others.To you, Jesus, weighed down with exhaustion and in need of help,be honour and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit,now and for ever. Amen

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