Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Message

I wrote this about 6 years ago and it never found a home. I guess today's the day.
It's a new perspective on a familiar story. Hope you enjoy!
Happy Christ is Risen Day!
It is an ordinary day.  People with sandal clad feet and cloaks covering their backs and shoulders scurry about on my weathered cobblestones.  Children toss polished rocks toward mud stucco walls; their bare feet patter and swish across the loose sand sifting around the alleyways.  An occasional laugh or giggle echoes through my narrow street.

I am the Via Dolorosa, the avenue to Golgotha. 

Off in the distance, shouts of discontent and agitation begin to swell.  Soon the sound fills my now quiet street.

“Crucify!  Crucify!  The voices shout.  “Take him away!  Crucify him!”  A tremendous roar of agreement erupts like the thunder of a thousand chariots. 

Distant and faint, mixed with the cheering and adulation, a woman wails in agony. 

What is going on?  My street is bare of human feet, devoid of whispers and chatter of the normal business bustle.  But wait!  Someone is coming, and with him they follow, the onlookers, the weepers, and the doubters.  He carries a cross made of timber on his back.  As his bare feet pad along on my irregular stone, he stumbles.  His cheek is mere inches from my surface now.  His breathing is labored and shallow.  A stream of sweat and crimson blood trickles down his taught cheek and drips like teardrops onto my blistering surface.   I see the crown of thorns on his head dig deeper into his scalp with every agonizing twist or turn.  I can feel his breath against me.  I wonder how man can be so cruel.   

Now I hear the whispers of the crowd that surrounds him.  “Jesus.  King of Kings,” they say.  “He claims he is the son of God.”  Disbelieving laughter and grunts of indignation now rain down on the man known as Jesus.  Behind the soldiers and the nonbelievers, many shed tears of sorrow.

Just as I become convinced this “Jesus” would not rise to walk again, would instead collapse in a lifeless heap upon my dampened facade, a man emerges from the crowd and raises the wooden cross.  I see compassion in the man’s sorrowful eyes as the Good Samaritan helps Jesus to his feet.  As they pass, I see the jagged, crisscross lines of blood streaking the back of Jesus’ robe.  Behind him, a mother sobs for her son.

The procession moves on.  The curious follow close, unable to pull away from the spectacle.  Blood and teardrops mark their path toward Golgotha. 

I hear the sound of hammers now mixed with cries of agony.  My street is bare again, with the multitude now on the distant hillside.  A murmur of activity drifts in my direction.  Soldiers agitate and call out in ridicule to the man known as “Jesus”. 

“If you are truly the son of God, save yourself,” they scoff, then laugh and slap each other on the back. 

People in the crowd cry out and begin to pray for God’s forgiveness, for themselves and for those about to commit the ultimate sin; the murder of God’s child.  Why doesn’t he protest?  His words rise above the others but I can only make out a scattering gibberish.  “Father… forsake…know not…It is done.”  Across the swaying treetops, I see his head sag in death.  The wailing begins again.

Mourning and sorrow fills the city.  Men, women, and children amble along my cobblestone path with heads hung low.  After the third sunrise, I begin to wonder if things will ever be the same.  There is no joy in the air, no hope in their hearts.  My desolate street is dirty with shame.

But then I here raised voices.  A growing chant rises from the darkness.

“He is risen!”  A crying women with hands raised to the sky yells, “He is risen!  He is risen!”  And the believers rejoice.

I am the Via Dolorosa.  I am the Street of Sorrows.