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Posts tagged with: Lent

Holy Week and Work: Reconciliation in the Workplace

There is another dimension of the cross that we sometimes overlook on Good Friday. We see this dimension clearly in Ephesians 2:14-16, where the death of Christ on the cross brings reconciliation not only between people and God but also between alienated people groups.

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Holy Week and Work: Washing Feet or Carrying Boxes?

In many Christian traditions, foot-washing ceremonies provide a way for brothers and sisters in Christ to express their deep commitment to and care for each other. Foot washing can feel almost sacramental for those who give and receive it.

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Holy Week and Work: Work Restored

Because of the cross, the day will come when creation is restored and renewed. In that day, we will experience work as God intended it to be. That is part of our future hope in Christ.

But then something happened to corrupt the goodness of work. Sin happened.

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Holy Week and Work: Encountering God at Work

But today I want to focus on something rarely mentioned among commentators: the centurion encountered God in his work. It’s not particularly unusual for people to meet God in their work. This happens – and should happen – all the time. But what is so striking in the case of the centurion is the kind of work he was doing when he had his divine encounter.

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Holy Week and Work: Remembering Jesus in the Products of Work

Several years ago, while visiting a church on Sunday morning, I saw a striking communion banner. It featured a creative and tasteful weaving together of wheat stalks and bunches of grapes. I appreciated the artistry that went into the design and production of the banner and was glad to have seen it.

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Jesus requesting his disciple take care of his mother.

The Twelfth Station: Jesus on the Cross, His Mother, and His Disciple

The basic meaning of Jesus’s statement is clear. He was entrusting care of his mother to one of his most intimate friends and followers. He was making sure that she would be loved and cared for after Jesus’s death. Jesus knew he could trust his beloved follower with such an important responsibility.

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The thief asks Jesus to remember him. Painting © Linda E.S. Roberts, 2007. For permission to use this picture, contact Mark D. Roberts.

The Eleventh Station: Jesus Promises His Kingdom to the Good Thief

Three men being crucified, suffering excruciating pain, literally. (The word “excruciating” comes from the Latin cruciare, “to crucify.”) One man begins taunting Jesus, sarcastically calling out for salvation he believes Jesus can’t deliver. The other, sensing something that he has never felt before, defends Jesus as an innocent victim. Then, in desperate hope, he cries out: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” In response Jesus says a most astounding thing, a most encouraging thing, a most curious thing: “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

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Jesus crucified. Painting © Linda E.S. Roberts, 2007. For permission to use this picture, contact Mark D. Roberts.

The Tenth Station: Jesus is Crucified

“They crucified Jesus.” “They,” in this case, refers to the Roman soldiers. Rome alone had the authority and the audacity to crucify people, one of the cruelest forms of execution ever devised. Crucifixion was so disgusting that Roman authors rarely referred to it. It was better left unmentioned.

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The woman weeping for Jesus. Painting © Linda E.S. Roberts, 2007. For permission to use this picture, contact Mark D. Roberts.

The Ninth Station: Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

Luke 23:27 notes that “a great number of people followed [Jesus]” as he walked to Golgotha. Luke gives no indication that they were crying out for Jesus’s death. In fact, by mentioning the women weeping for Jesus, Luke implies that at least many among the “great number of the people” were upset by what was happening to Jesus.

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Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to Carry the Cross. Painting © Linda E.S. Roberts, 2007. For permission to use this picture, contact Mark D. Roberts.

The Eighth Station: Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus to Carry the Cross

Christians from all over the world come to Jerusalem to walk along the Via Dolorosa, the way of suffering, the way of the cross. This path through the streets and alleys of Jerusalem is believed to be the path Jesus actually walked on the way to his crucifixion.

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Jesus carrying the cross. Painting © Linda E.S. Roberts, 2007. For permission to use this picture, contact Mark D. Roberts.

The Seventh Station: Jesus Takes Up His Cross

Jesus had said this would happen. For quite some time he had predicted his suffering and death.

In the final events of his life, Jesus seemed to be orchestrating events that might otherwise have been out of his control.

So, though the crucifixion of Jesus is horrendous from one point of view, it is also wondrous from another perspective.

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Jesus Crowned with Thorns. Painting © Linda E.S. Roberts, 2007. For permission to use this picture, contact Mark D. Roberts.

The Sixth Station: Jesus is Scourged and Crowned with Thorns

What cruel irony! Jesus finally received the words he deserved: “Hail, King of the Jews!” For once he wore a crown upon his head. Yet it was not the golden crown of sovereignty or the olive crown of victory, but the thorny crown of suffering.

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Pilate washing his hands of Jesus. Painting © Linda E.S. Roberts, 2007. For permission to use this picture, contact Mark D. Roberts.

The Fifth Station: Jesus is Judged by Pilate

There has been a tendency in the Christian telling of the Passion story to exonerate Pilate, or at least to make him an unwilling pawn of the Jewish leaders and crowds. Pilate, it is claimed, was a truth-seeking man who was caught between a rock and a hard place. Were it not for the pressure he received from the Sanhedrin and their supporters, he wouldn’t have crucified Jesus. This view of the noble Pilate seems at first to fit the facts of the New Testament Gospels. But, upon closer scrutiny, it falls short in a number of crucial ways.

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The Fourth Station: Peter Denies Jesus

Why did Peter deny Jesus? After all, he had been one of the first to follow Jesus, leaving so much behind to walk the uncertain road of discipleship. Peter had seen mighty wonders as his Master healed the sick, cast out demons, and even raised the dead. Peter had witnessed the miracle of the transfiguration. And he had even walked on water for a few brief moments. So why did Peter, of all people, deny Jesus?

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The Third Station: Jesus is Condemned by the Sanhedrin

Have you ever wondered why Jesus wasn’t clearer about who he was and what he had come to do? I certainly have. It seems like it would have been so much easier for all, including those of us who seek to follow Jesus today, if he had only said, “Yes, I am the Messiah, but not in the sense you expect. I have been anointed by God to bring the kingdom, but not in a military-political way. The kingdom is coming through transformed hearts, communities, and cultures. Most of all, the kingdom is coming through my death, as I bear the sin of Israel, and, indeed, the sin of the world. As Messiah, I must also suffer in the role of Isaiah’s Servant.” Yet Jesus didn’t say this directly. It’s something we have to piece together from his words and deeds.

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