Down the Via Dolorosa
Last Wednesday, as part of a class assignment for a course I am taking, we participated in a time of meditation around the “Stations of the Cross.” This ancient worship practice surrounds viewing artistic pieces that depict 14 places of significance on Jesus’ road to Calvary (the Via Dolorosa—the Way of Suffering).
The particular Stations I was viewing are displayed in the Tyndale Chapel in Toronto. The artistic pieces are sculptures created by Donald de Lue.
It was at Station number three that my heart and spirit were cemented. The Station—called ‘Jesus Falls for the First Time’—depicts as noted, Jesus falling. There are three others in the sculpture. A Roman solider with a whip driving Jesus back onto his feet—and two others. Lue, known for his ability sculpting hands and feet had depicted these two as follows. One man, in the top corner—had his hand held out flat as if to say ‘stop!’ The woman is reaching towards the solider who had his hand raised to whip Jesus. She looks as though she is reaching out to stop the soldiers.
As I sat and mediated on the scene before me I became the man in the top concern and eventually— the woman. I want to stop the beating. I want to stop the torture. I want to stop this thing.
I spend my life trying to elevate pain. I don’t like pain—and do not like to see people in pain. So, I pray, help, serve, work to remove pain from people’s lives, home, marriage, relationships, etc. I pray for healing from physical, emotion, and mental pain. I’m quite sure there is no pain in heaven—so I want that little piece of heaven now—painlessness.
But, as I meditated more and more on the scene I began to hear and realize—stopping the pain would have stopped the work that Father allowed. It was as if the Spirit were saying to me the following.
If you welcome pain you welcome my cross. No cross—no glory.
“Help me Lord to welcome pain—because of the joy awaiting Jesus on the other side of the cross—is the joy that awaits us as well. Help me Lord to allow others I am working the faith, space, and time, to go through the lessons of pain. I want to stop pain—for others—but sometimes pain must be allowed to do its work.”
Godly pain always works—because Godly pain is always redemptive.