For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son. John 3:16
We live in a world where big, loud, fast and complex are often the order of business, but if you were in Westphalia, Michigan Monday night you witnessed a group of 6th graders flip that philosophy right on its ear! It’s a tradition at St. Mary School for the 6th graders to reenact the Stations of the Cross during Holy Week. This year instead of doing a live-action, costumed portrayal of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ in the church, the entire performance was done behind a white curtain on the gym stage–completely in shadow. It was simple, profound and prayerful. The drama was tied together with powerful meditations and contemporary Christian music. The middle lovelies did an amazing job! The focus, quiet and humility of the “new way” was a Lenten Sacrifice for the middle lovelies but it was one that brought tremendous blessings to everyone who came.
When the white backlight turned to red and Jesus dropped his head and died, the crowd heard Chris Tomlin sing, “His love ran red” and I recalled some words written by St. Thomas Aquinas. He said that the Crucifixion was the perfect exemplification of the Beatitudes. Fr. Robert Barron offered a beautiful teaching on those words as he stood at the foot of the Isenheim Altarpiece painted by Matthias Grunawald. His teaching contained some amazing points to ponder and after being so moved by what the middle lovelies allowed us to feel, it seems like the perfect time to pass on some crucifixion wisdom compliments of Fr. Robert Barron and St. Thomas Aquinas. If we would like to draw closer to Christ this Holy Week we must despise what Christ himself despised on the cross and love what He loved on the cross.
The things Jesus hated on the cross are the things we usually seek to find happiness. We seek wealth; Jesus had nothing. We seek pleasure; Jesus was at the physical and spiritual limit of suffering. We seek power; Jesus had none, he was nailed to the cross with no power to even move his limbs. The fourth thing we seek is honor; Jesus certainly had none as the crowd mocked, jeered and tormented him. He so clearly hated all those things we spend so much time searching for. You might wonder what could there possibly have been for Jesus to love as he hung on the cross. The answer to that question is quite simple; Jesus LOVED doing the will of his Father!
I watched with tear-filled eyes as the 6th grade middle lovelies brought each event of the last hours Jesus spent on earth to life with emotion and prayerfulness. I was amazed at the gift I had been given as a Child of God and a beloved daughter of Jesus and as the teacher of such a beautiful group of kids. I’m overwhelmed and grateful! We make things so complicated so the greatest thing we can do to prepare for the events of Good Friday and the joy of Easter Sunday is to slow down, pause, and ponder the amazing gift we’ve been given and mediate on the love of the Savior who so dearly loves us!
A Seed To Plant: Take some time this week to google and gaze at the Isenheim Altarpiece and listen to Christ Tomlin’s At the Cross Love Ran Red or Kari Jobe’s What Love Is This. I guarantee your heart will be changed.
Blessings on your day!
Copyright 2015 Sheri Wohlfert.
Photo courtesy of Deborah Prince. Used with permission. All rights reserved.