Three Crosses and a Pair of Dice: Stations 9 & 10
by Melinda Creech, Guest Blogger for Lent
The ninth line of the sonnet is “A final time you fell beneath the weight.” This is the third time in the traditional Stations of the Cross that Jesus fell while carrying his cross.
Threes permeate the story of Jesus’ last week on earth. Traditionally three represents completion. Jesus took three disciples with him to Gethsemane. He prayed three times there in the garden. Three times he returned to his disciples only to find them sleeping. Pilate appealed to the crowd regarding Jesus’ innocence three times before finally washing his hands of the matter and giving him over to his accusers. Peter denied Jesus three times. There were three crosses on Golgatha. Three women went to the tomb to prepare Jesus’ body. Jesus was in the tomb three days.
The images on the pane of the banner for the ninth station will again be cross stencils. There is a sample of three crosses at the top of the blog.
“The soldier’s hands stripped cloth and dignity” is the tenth line of the sonnet.
John tells us that
“‘Let’s not tear it,’ they said to one another. ‘Let’s decide by lot who will get it.’ This
happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said, ‘They divided my clothes among
them and cast lots for my garment.’ So this is what the soldiers did” (John 19:23).
John is referring to Psalm 22. Jesus alluded to this psalm as he was hanging on the cross. He quoted the first line, which is like the title of the psalm. Jesus was, of course, well-versed in the book of Psalms and quoted and alluded to them often. Perhaps Jesus was meditating on the entire Psalm 22 as he hung on the cross dying. Here is the psalm in its entirety.
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? I groan in prayer, but help seems far away My God, I cry out during the day, but you do not answer, and during the night my prayers do not let up You are holy; you sit as king receiving the praises of Israel In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted in you and you rescued them. To you they cried out, and they were saved; in you they trusted and they were not disappointed. But I am a worm, not a man; people insult me and despise me. All who see me taunt me; they mock me and shake their heads. They say,“Commit yourself to the Lord! Let the Lord rescue him! Let the Lord deliver him, for he delights in him.” Yes, you are the one who brought me out from the womb and made me feel secure on my mother’s breasts. I have been dependent on you since birth; from the time I came out of my mother’s womb you have been my God. Do not remain far away from me, for trouble is near and I have no one to help me. Many bulls surround me; powerful bulls of Bashan hem me in. They open their mouths to devour me like a roaring lion that rips its prey. My strength drains away like water; all my bones are dislocated. My heart is like wax; it melts away inside me. The roof of my mouth is as dry as a piece of pottery; my tongue sticks to my gums. You set me in the dust of death. Yes, wild dogs surround me— a gang of evil men crowd around me; like a lion they pin my hands and feet. I can count all my bones; my enemies are gloating over me in triumph. They are dividing up my clothes among themselves; they are rolling dice for my garments. But you, O Lord, do not remain far away. You are my source of strength. Hurry and help me! Deliver me from the sword. Save my life from the claws of the wild dogs. Rescue me from the mouth of the lion, and from the horns of the wild oxen. You have answered me. I will declare your name to my countrymen. In the middle of the assembly I will praise you. You loyal followers of the Lord, praise him. All you descendants of Jacob, honor him. All you descendants of Israel, stand in awe of him. For he did not despise or detest the suffering of the oppressed. He did not ignore him; when he cried out to him, he responded. You are the reason I offer praise in the great assembly; I will fulfill my promises before the Lord’s loyal followers. Let the oppressed eat and be filled. Let those who seek his help praise the Lord. May you live forever! Let all the people of the earth acknowledge the Lord and turn to him. Let all the nations worship you. For the Lord is king and rules over the nations. All the thriving people of the earth will join the celebration and worship; all those who are descending into the grave will bow before him, including those who cannot preserve their lives. A whole generation will serve him; they will tell the next generation about the Lord. They will come and tell about his saving deeds; they will tell a future generation what he has accomplished.
I have chosen to represent this station with a pair of dice.
Yesterday I finished the lettering on the banner. I am including this video and a couple of photos to give you an idea about what was involved in the lettering. I will begin cutting today or tomorrow.