Were You There?

Excerpts from the Urban Way of the Cross, A Good Friday Pilgrimage Through Albuquerque

April 3, 2015

Were You There

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?

Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?

Were you there when God raised him from the tomb?

Were you there when God raised him from the tomb?

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Were you there when God raised him from the tomb?

Station one

Issue: Honor the Women

A Reading from the Gospel of Luke

One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment. She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—that she is a sinner.’

Then turning towards the woman, he said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.’ Then he said to her,   ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, ‘Who is this who even forgives sins?’ And he said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.’

Story of a woman grabbed, attacked, raped, beaten and left to die on a vacant lot in Albuquerque 

Prayer

O Jesus, we are so quick to judge others; so quick to strike out against those you draw close. We know that you welcome those others denigrate and dismiss. You weep with those others hurt through words and actions. You welcome all who come to you. You forgive all who turn to you. Teach us to be gentle to one another. Turn our hearts to those in deepest need. School us in your ways of loving kindness. Spur us to action that we might love as you have loved mothers, daughters and sisters that others have deemed not worthy for we know that all are worthy in your sight. AMEN

Station two

Issue: Welcome to the Stranger

A Reading from the Book of Deuteronomy

For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them with food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.

Story of three women who have fled their homes struggling to make a home in Albuquerque including one elderly woman, alone in a land far from home, longs for community she will never recapture

Prayer

Jesus, there are no boundaries to your love, no borders to your kindness, no limits to your welcoming ways. No one stands outside the circle of your healing touch. Keep us ever mindful that we, too, were once strangers in this land. Teach us to welcome others as you have welcomed us. Lead us in the ways of tenderness. Unbind our hearts that we might, like you, respond to others’ pain and need not from a place of fear but from hearts overflowing with loving kindness. AMEN

Station three

Issue: Justice for the Dead

A Reading from the Gospel of Matthew

Jesus said,  ‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others.’

Story of a son shot in his own backyard by police who jumped a fence to serve a warrant for a minor violation.

Prayer

Jesus, the prophets longed for a day when justice might flow like water and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. Give us strength that we, like the prophets of old, might raise our voices in calls for justice. Teach those who govern that they might rule with a righteousness attentive to the needs of all your children, but especially the needs of the most vulnerable. Turn cold hearts to the ways of mercy so that we may see your reign of love here in this place now. AMEN

Station Four

Issue: Peace and Healing for the Tormented

A Reading from the Gospel of Luke

Then they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me’— for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.) Jesus then asked him, ‘What is your name?’ He said, ‘Legion’; for many demons had entered him. They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss.

Now there on the hillside a large herd of swine was feeding; and the demons begged Jesus to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.

When the swineherds saw what had happened, they ran off and told it in the city and in the country. Then people came out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. Those who had seen it told them how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, ‘Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.’ So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him.

Story of a child diagnosed by not served; caught in a mental health system repeatedly kicking the healing ball down the field. A mother wondering how to care for an adult son now locked in a coma. A system of care gone awry.

Station Five

Issue: Shelter for the Homeless

A Reading from the Gospel of Matthew

Then Jesus said,  ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left….. Then he will say to those at his left hand, “You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.” Then they also will answer, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?” Then he will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.”

Story of a woman moved time and again from camp to camp finally moved into an apartment yet giving up community for the chance to retrieve her dog.

Prayer Jesus, you say to those who follow you, “The Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” You know what it is to be without a place to sleep at night. You know the challenges those who have no shelter daily face. You know the shame often piled on those who live on the streets. You know the loneliness that can accompany the move from houseless to housed. Draw us together—both housed and houseless—that we might live as one knowing that we all share one true home in you. AMEN

Station Six

Anointing and Prayers for Healing

 

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