Thursday, April 01, 2010's Friday

The Crucifixion of Jesus

So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.’ Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, ‘Do not write, “The King of the Jews”, but, “This man said, I am King of the Jews.” ’ Pilate answered, ‘What I have written I have written.’ When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. So they said to one another, ‘Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.’ This was to fulfil what the scripture says,
‘They divided my clothes among themselves,
and for my clothing they cast lots.’
And that is what the soldiers did.

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfil the scripture), ‘I am thirsty.’ A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

This story is so powerful, and yet ordinary.

Although we make a big thing about it. People die every day.

I am struck as I write about it that this is the sort of thing that I say about the Christmas story. Waving my hand in the general direction of the Flinders Medical Centre, we forget that young girls give birth all the time.
People also die every day.
Most do not die in the sort of excruciating way that Jesus died. Some do, as victims of torture. But most go unnoticed.
Exccpt by a few family and others who hope against hope that things won't turn out so bad.
Often even those who do not die violently
Do not go easily
A few do
But most of us don't want to do that.

We note some things then that this death tells us about all deaths
Our own included.

death is a barren and difficult place.. even the sound Golgotha
tells us that it is not easy to be at this point
We need to be sensitive to that for ourselves and others.
We are misunderstood, even at death's point
A sign is put over his head Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews
He neither assent to this, nor agrees with it.
We are misunderstood even at the point of death
this often happens when we talk to each other over a cup of coffee
about our father or sister, and we hear stories from sources other than ourselves
that tell us that different people have differing experiences of the dead one.
Our knowledge of each other is partial.
We should be slow to judge and generous to forgive

Life goes on, Christ robe has to be disposed of
this needs to be done in the right way
we need to be careful to do it properly.
We are so often hurried, and uncaring
and need to be carefull(sic)...Full of Care
for ourselves and for each other.

There are few people who are there at the end
who really know
we need to be careful of each other
our sadnesses, our sense of powerlessness
and to recognise that it is part of our humanity
to be there for the dying
and to to be there for each other.

As we watch our bodily urges get stripped away
we are reminded that they need to be attended to.
Praise God for the modern Hospice Movement
which encourages us to attend properly to the comfort and needs of the dying

Finally there is a real sense
that we die when we are ready.
Jesus was not so much killed
as he allowed himself to die when he was ready.

There is a sense about the freedom which God gives us
which is never taken away.

death is an invitation to enter into life.
With all its difficulty.
Trying to name things correctly,
to be honest and bold.
And in the end to decide to submit
to what will be
our last act.

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