Thursday, 21 April 2011

Station X: Jesus is Crucified

William Fairbanks - Forest Stations
It is claimed that crucifixion is the worst form of execution every invented. It is a degrading, slow and agonising death for accused - more often than not lasting up to eight days in many cases, rather than what seemed the 'mercifully' short hours that Jesus was caused to endure. 

Crucifixion is not a death by catastrophic organ failure, blood loss or haemorrhage, but by suffocation. In the prone position that this hanging bring about, the accused cannot breath properly as a result of the full extension of the rib-cage. It is slow, a death served by our very processes of living.

However, and a writing as a priest, it seems that crucifixion dealt a far more cruel blow to Jesus. The nailing of the hands to the patibulum took place through the wrists, not through the palm as it often depicted. This would have immediately severed the nerve system that serves the hand, and by the imposition of the nail, the King of Love was robbed of his ministering hands.  Hands and touch would have been so important to Jesus, and they are to priests. Healing is a matter for human touch, not wands or magic spells. Offering human comfort is done in union, not at a safe polite distance. For Jesus, in his last moments, he is robbed of the things that delivered most good in his ministry. 

And they crucified him, and divided his clothing among them, casting lots to decide what each should take [Mk 15: 24]

My prayer at this Station is for those who have been the victim of murder, and those who mourn their passing.  I pray too for all people called by God to heal, and for the precious gift of touch.

Lord Jesus, you bled in pain as the nails were driven into your flesh:

transform through the mystery of your love the pain of those who suffer.

To you, Jesus, our crucified Lord,
be honour and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
now and for ever. Amen

1 comment:

  1. This is really interesting.

    Tomorrow in our Hour at the Cross, I'm going to use a piece of writing by +Stephen Cottrell that talks vividly about the way crucifixion took place as being adaptable to the needs of the moment, prolonging or shortening the death at need. I knew about the nail going through the wrist not the hand, but didn't know this thing about the nerves in the hands being 'killed' by the nail. I'd hate not to have my hands - mine are sadly not known as healing, but I do like to use them creatively. Perhaps there is a reflection in that too.

    You like me are also a fan of the Forest Stations - the most helpful set of stations I've seen.

    Thank you for sharing these pieces of writing and thought - we don't have stations in our church, and you are filling a gap for me.



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