Twelfth Station--Jesus Dies on the Cross

("Jesus Dies on the Cross", by Mark Wolfe, Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church 2007 Stations of the Cross Exhibit, Charleston, WV)

Twelfth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross

Leader: O holy Christ, we worship you, we adore you;
People: You displayed perfect obedience to God even unto death.

What little Jesus said in his last hours spoke volumes. He cried out to God in his anguish, much as we have done ourselves when we feel forsaken, alone, and separated from God. He called for his mother. He entreated the disciple whom he loved to take Mary as his own mother. He promised a criminal a home in heaven alongside of him. But it is also what he did not speak that the few people with him at the end must have heard. He could have asked for God to deliver him, but he did not. He could have mustered the forces of heaven and earth to shower plagues and strike down those who opposed him, but instead the sky simply grew darker, as if it would die itself. He could have cursed his accusers and tormentors with the full weight of God's holy wrath, but instead he forgave those who participated in his crucifixion.

Finally, he cried out, "It is finished," and breathed his last.
(a period of silence is kept.)

The air suddenly became electric with confusion. Those remaining at the scene were somehow astonished that he was really dead. There was no doubt. His chest no longer moved. When he was pierced with a spear, both water and blood flowed, and his body displayed no reaction. Those who had believed in him felt foolish, spurned, abandoned. Had they believed in nothing real, nothing of substance? Was belief in an Almighty simply a cruel joke, a fairy tale spun to placate the world's fear of death?

Only one spot on Golgotha remained free of fear and confusion--the spot where a lone centurion stood, distant and silent. Up to that moment, he had believed in many gods--Jupiter and Venus, Pluto, Mars, and Bacchus. As he stared at Jesus' lifeless frame, he said to no one in particular, "Truly this man was God's son."

Leader: As Jesus died, an eerie darkness silhouetted him,
People: And the grip of death clutched the hearts of those who remained.

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

Almighty God, the bearer of true Light,
we are no strangers to the razor sharp daggers
of the fear of our own deaths.
They stab our hearts while we lie upon our beds
in the middle of the night,
or in the shaking chills of fever and sickness.
The seven words of our deepest fears cry out,
"Maybe this life is all there is."
Give us the courage, dear Lord,
to pierce the marrow of those seven words
with the six courageous words of the centurion--
"Truly this man was God's son."

People: Amen.

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