Station 5: Jesus Is Crucified
Luke 23: 33, 47
When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left.
The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.”
The Crucifixion, (Spiritual), Marian Anderson & Franz Rupp (1951) [3:56]
- They crucified my Lord, and he never said a mumbalin’ word.
- They pierced him in the side, and he never said a mumbalin’ word.
- He bowed his head and died, and he never said a mumbalin’ word.
A couple years ago during a trip to Rome, I got to tour the Vatican. There are few places in the world so filled with art, but in the midst of it all, tucked into a small side room on the way to the Sistine Chapel, this is the painting that stopped me in my tracks. Artists the world over have painted their interpretations of the crucifixion, but this painting by Jacques Villon captures something that feels so true: the confusion of the moment. The more you look at this painting, the more you see. There’s a lot of movement. There are people around the cross – what are they doing? Is Jesus being lifted up or taken down? I wonder what you see in this painting. Just like this painting, as we contemplate the meaning of the cross, we all see different things. May you be bold to enter into this mystery and where explanations fail, may you know the love of Christ at the heart of it all.
Merciful God, we look upon your cross and we struggle to know what to make of it. We see violence and pain, and we also see love and compassion. As we move through this Holy Week, may we know more deeply the ways you accompany your creation in our own loss and pain, and in that accompaniment, may we know your peace that transcends understanding. Amen.