My backyard is again filled with snow, the birds are eager at the feeder, and the icicles hang long and pointed off the eaves. It's hard to believe Easter is so near, that the Passion of our Lord is so soon to be remembered.
The movies always show it as summertime; no snow and chill as he stands in the square being whipped, no boots and toques as they tried to stay awake in the Garden.
It was across the world, faraway from here, it was a long time ago; but we still can and must live the Way of the Cross. It will not be on the Mount, or on the cobbled streets of Jerusalem, or in the palace courtyard. But it might look something like this . . .
'He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross.'
The Agony in the Garden: We pray and we pray some more. We pray for our children, our brothers, for the ones we know who cannot bear the burdens they have, the difficulties that lie before them. We weep for the suffering in the world; we wait for God to bring grace, peace and hope to those in despair. We pray some more.
The Scourging at the Pillar: We see the suffering in the world, the man dragged to his death, the woman beaten and abused, the child neglected - and we do not turn away. We do not despair, we do not lose hope even as we are wrenched and torn within at the knowledge of brutality. We weep.
The Crowning with Thorns: We see our Lord and Saviour mocked in the marketplace, the workplace, in the media and public life. And we do not turn away.
We say: "Yes, he is the Lord." We endure the disdain and ridicule of those who judge us as needing a crutch and an excuse. We stand firm in faith and compassion.
The Carrying of the Cross: We work hard. We work for justice. We work to help carry the cross of those who are too weary and broken to keep going.
We pour ourselves out in love, wiping the tears and blood from those who weep, walking along the way with the one who needs courage and companionship.
Step by step, day after day, year after year, we persevere. We bring supper to the shut-in, provide a safe home for the orphan, shovel the snow for the widow. We work and we love.
The Crucifixion: We see the meaning of our lives in the face of the crucified Christ. We know the great gift of his life poured out for us. We know the price the sin and suffering of the world has exacted from God who became man. We seek truth.
We commit our lives to that same surrender of will to the Father. We know that all creation is subject to his power, and yet he allows this place, this time. We do not understand, but we do not falter. All the more, we surrender, we give ourselves to the Father.
(Kathleen Giffin firstname.lastname@example.org)