Station VII: Jesus falls the second time
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you:
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth. For the transgression of my people was he stricken.
But as for me, I am a worm and no man:
Scorned by all and despised by the people.
Reflection: Free Fall into Holy Communion
It was no messenger or angel
but his presence that saved them;
in his love and in his pity he redeemed them;
he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.
We fall. We all fall. We stand together on this journey, watching Jesus bear the cross, to crumble beneath the weight of the world he carries. In this time where we feel separated from each other, we fall. When we think of the suffering of the world, we fall. But Christ is always with us.
I’ve been thinking in these secluded days that Christ is present not only in our moments of perfection but made real in the imperfect places and spaces where we are broken open to reveal healing and transformational love. We now notice with poignant longing how much we miss each other’s presence; how we long for community and communion. It’s worth considering that in our longing, Christ is present with us now, perhaps even more.
So when the longing for community and our worship in Holy Eucharist grips me, I pause and I think about where I meet Jesus, and where Jesus meets me.
Christ is so often present in the people and places I least expect. I think about Danny, the older man with schizophrenia who walked a mile every Sunday from his boarding house to the parish I attended for many years. “Is it time for communion?” he would ask, “I want to see Jesus.” As Danny walked toward the altar rail, I would fall into step together with him, kneeling side-by-side at the heavenly banquet. We would both see Jesus.
I think of Paula who came each Sunday in layers of clothes, scarves and hats. Her constantly darting eyes would meet mine when I held a chalice to her lips, muttering under her breath, “Yes, Jesus, I see Jesus in you” as I said, “The blood of Christ, the cup of salvation.” It was as if in those moments my eyes opened, too, and I could see the whole and perfect person in Paula just as Christ could see her.
I can still feel the presence of Our Savior alive in those moments etched in my memory. And when I am still, I can feel the same overwhelming power of the transformational love and healing which Danny and Paula experienced still nourishing me with Christ’s transforming love.
I remember this, even as I long to be back with my community, enfolded by love and nourished by Holy Eucharist. In this communion of saints we all share that heavenly feast, unbounded by time or place or circumstances even as we are united continually as the Body of Christ. We are still nourished, and united, and met by Christ right where we are.
And when I think on these things I, too, fall to my knees.
Almighty and everliving God, in your tender love for the human race you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility: mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering, and also share in his resurrection; who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.