Eleventh Station--Jesus is Nailed to the Cross

(From the Shrine of the Stations of the Cross, San Luis, Colorado)

Eleventh Station: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross

Leader: O holy Christ, we worship you, we adore you;
People: You stretched out your loving arms upon the hard wood of the cross.

The soldiers assigned to the crucifixion detail expected resistance, but Jesus willingly lay his arms upon the cross as they drove large square nails through the heel of his hand at an angle through his wrist, and nails through the sides of his feet.. His willingness unnerved them. Most criminals fought the cross, but Jesus did not. Lashing the condemned's wrists to the cross first was not unusual, but there was no need. His arms lay on the cross, limp and unresisting.

"What manner of man is this?" the executioners thought. Was he so weakened he was senseless? His willingness made the hollow sounds of the nails being driven seem twice as loud. His silence was deafening. They were so used to criminals protesting their innocence, like the ones who were placed on Jesus' left and right. Why did he not speak out? To continue to drive the nails became more and more painful--not just to Jesus, but to those wielding the mallets. Suddenly, the heinousness, the gruesomeness, of what they were doing hit home, and they became more and more afraid with each strike of the mallet. How many others had they nailed to crosses, and why did this crucifixion bother them so? They studied his face. This was not the face of a criminal. This was a face of radiance and light, even though it was bruised and bleeding. What had they done?

Leader: The nails entered the wood of the cross inch by inch,
People: And each swing of the mallet pierced the air with the pain of the world.

Leader: Let us pray.
(a brief period of silence is observed.)

All-powerful and all-knowing God,
sometimes we are so sure in our judgments,
we cannot fathom the possibility that we could be wrong.
Give us sight that touches the depths of our own souls
to the place we can see error in ourselves.
Fill us with the courage of true repentance--
the bravery to turn in another direction,
the valor to admit our wrongs,
and the heroism to march forward
in the assurance that God forgives us.

People: Amen.

Holy God,
Holy and Mighty,
Holy immortal one,
Have mercy on us.