|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