Posted tagged ‘Calvary’


April 19, 2019


“And the evening and the morning were the first day.”   The “calendar” given in the Bible marks the beginning of the new 24-hour day period at evening (or dusk) (or sundown) (or when the first three stars of the night are discernible). And the day ends after daylight  as the sun goes down again.

Easy to remember. Your Jewish friends go to Temple on “Friday night” for Sabbath services, which as we know, Sabbath is “Saturday.”

But all this is important because it underscores the fact that the ACT of the Last Supper and the ACT of the crucifixion were all performed in one 24-hour period; that is, they are the proceedings of one day.

That which was broken at the table at the beginning of the day is the Same Body which was broken as the day ended.


Jesus gathered with his disciples for his last meal. Was it a “seder” meal?    I don’t know. The Passover meal had changed over the centuries, and even of what we know of it that might have happened around Jesus’ time, the Bible does not record any of the Passover meal elements during that Last Supper.

But it was a solemn meal, just before the Passover, and it was given lasting importance because there Jesus blessed the bread and wine and made it – in essence – His body. He indicated that this is the way He would dine (or commune) intimately with us until He returns.

Bread and Wine

Some small details have changed since then, but not the meaning, the substance, the Essence.

That is why the brave French fireman Fr. Fournier was so keen to remove the Blessed Sacrament from the burning Notre Dame, at peril of his own life. “Rivers of fire cascading down the walls,” he said. “It was like a vision of Hell.”

One day.     Bread broken.  Body broken.    One significant Act of God.

A word that means “winepress.” 

It’s where we take the grapes and crush them with heavy weights, so that their “blood,” their juice,  runs down – and can be used by mankind.


That winepress was located in the Garden near the Mount of Olives. It’s where Jesus went to pray in  the night before His crucifixion.     Alone, ahead, apart from his disciples.

What else went into the Garden with Jesus?

Ever do anything wrong? Ever sin? Ever say an unkind, thoughtless word? Ever pass up a chance to help someone? Ever go a whole day without praying and praising your Creator? Ever say bad things about the Church? …. et cetera  … et cetera …

All those things are in there, with Jesus… crushing Him under the weight . . . .

“Every which way from Sunday,” as our American saying goes. Jesus was tried and scrutinized and accused and found guilty and condemned to death by religious people, by local government, and by the global empire.

Who killed Jesus?     Everyone.
Calvary is Golgotha, when you use the local term: “place of the skull.” (Whose skull? According to local tradition of hundreds of generations, Adam’s skull.    Right there somewhere under the Cross of Christ —

golg crack

Under Mt. Calvary 

And that place kind of looked like a skull from a certain angle.)    “Adam” – the word for mankind, the word for humans, the word for our beginnings.

skull icon


And there on the Cross at Calvary, Jesus, cursed by all (by God’s command: “Cursed is anyone who hangs on a Tree.” ) Jesus was cursed for Sins and died.

He died — to the shock and sorrow and grief of all who knew Him.


(Tomorrow/Holy Saturday:    the grieving aloneness, groping for answers . . .)


February 27, 2016

There are 26 more days to go . . .

Purple Banner 26

. . . on this 26th day of February.

I’ll bet those numbers don’t come together very often.

Every Friday is special for a Christian.   It’s a day set aside to pause and to remember that it was on a Friday that Jesus was crucified.  Fridays in Lent give us cause to think a little more deeply.

A Friday in Lent is an opportunity for us, then,  to understand the crucifixion of Christ.  As St. Paul says to his friends in Corinth:  “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”     (That was said after the cross,  after the Resurrection,  after the Ascension . . .we don’t ever forget the crucifixion.)

Jesus in garden

So on that Friday that we are remembering today, that 24-hour last day included the Agony in the Garden, and all that implies:   a good and holy God confronting internally, in Himself, in His human nature,  the full horror and corruption of sinful human beings.  “He bore our sins. . . .”    “He became a curse, for us.”

And then,  the heavy burden of carrying that weight —

Jesus carrying cross

Unbearable, unimaginable spiritual weight, and now it’s physical.

When we see a picture like this, it’s just one moment along the way, it is still; no one is moving.    But really, along this via dolorosa Jesus is slowly moving forward, and the soldiers are moving, and the crowds, . . . moving ever closer to Mt. Calvary.  We can look down on that narrow street and feel the forward movement.

When we “do”  the Stations of the Cross,  we meditate on Simon,  the man from Africa,  who helped Jesus carry the cross,  lifting up His burden ever so slightly.

We are to put ourselves in that scene,  and when I do,  I know He is carrying the weight of my sins and impurities and indifferences —    I’m not helping to ease His burden,  I’m standing ON His cross. . . and so He’s carrying me along too.

Jesus on the cross

And then He is there on His cross,  burdened with our cares and faults and sins.    He is weighted down not so much with gravity,  but with the sins and sorrows of the world.

This weightiness.  This burden.

If  we can take these Friday hours and allow a thought to seep in,  there is a lesson there as we see Him take on such a heavy load.

We know a Christian life is to be lived in imitation of Jesus,  our Lord and Savior.  We know that.    We are to take up our crosses . . . and follow Him . . .  whatever our “crosses”  will be.

But there He is,  bearing the heavy  consequences of our sin.   He is showing us that we must bear the sorrows of each other;   share the burden of the effects of this sinful, Fallen world;   we must lighten the load of our neighbor.     “Bear ye one another’s burdens,”  He would say.

He bore the weight of our sin;  we can help Him bear that weight.

But it’s not just a “pretty story,”   an “interesting insight.     As the Cross is physically real,  as the effect of the Cross is spiritually real,  so  the Power that comes from  Christ,  crucified,  died,  and risen,  is real.

We are not left as “orphans,”  He promised.   What would please Him for us to do He gives us the actual  power to do.   A person who is “in  Christ”  is a new creation, with new power.

We can do this.

Follow Christ on the via dolorosa,  the sorrowful pathway, on Fridays.  Lent reminds us of this.

And if you like to meditate with music,  go to YouTube and look up “Via dolorosa”   —  try the one sung by Sandy Patti.





February 13, 2016

37 more days:

Lent 37

When I was in high school, one of my friends received for a present a  beautiful onyx ring, set with a little diamond in the middle.  I thought it was so beautiful.   I never did manage to buy myself a pretty onyx ring like that,  gleaming black stone in a silver filigree setting – with that shiny little diamond . . . .

Ever since,  I’ve thought of onyx as being black.    Gleaming black.   Hard, impenetrable black.

onyx for ring

So I was interested, as an adult now,  to read more of the story of the Exodus and discover that onyx plays an important part in the relationship between God and man – and it’s not hard and black!

We all know that it was atop Mt. Sinai that Moses received the?   . . . Ten Commandments, of course.   But he also received many other “commands” and instructions regarding social interaction among people, as well as the proper worship of a God so utterly “other” and majestic and holy  that He had to reach down to mankind in order to communicate the Truth.    We couldn’t guess it ourselves.

Moses was told to instruct the people to build a proper place to worship,  what to do,  what kind of vessels to use,   where to place things,  what the priests should do,  and how they should be dressed.


It was the amazingly detailed and beautiful garments of the priests that would put forth into our minds the glory and beauty of God.   It was the best we could do.

The out garment was to be embroidered with threads that were double-dyed, red and gold and blue, violet, scarlet  – each color had meaning –  threads of gold . . . .


Here’s another was to think of these garments:

threads 2

Now, over the breast was to be placed an object with twelve gems, arranged in a square, representing the Twelve Tribes of Israel — but what is often overlooked is that over the shoulders of the priestly robe two onyx stones were to be taken and the names of the Tribes were to be written on them,  six on each side.

[9] And thou shalt take two onyx stones, and shalt grave on them the names of the children of Israel: [10] Six names on one stone, and the other six on the other, according to the order of their birth.    [11] With the work of an engraver and the graving of a jeweller, thou shalt engrave them with the names of the children of Israel, set in gold and compassed about: [12] And thou shalt put them in both sides of the ephod, a memorial for the children of Israel. And Aaron shall bear their names before the Lord upon both shoulders, for a remembrance.   (Exodus 28)

Maybe like this?


Or maybe much more beautiful.

You see,  an onyx is not only a gleaming, hard, black stone.   It can also look like this:

onyx green

And like this:


Quite beautiful and swirly and mysterious and deep.    Almost alive with warmth!   The placement of these onyx gemstones with the names of all the Tribes  (families)  of God’s own people on the shoulders of the priests, representing truths and mysteries and the thoughts of God is really quite remarkable.

Touch your shoulders.   (You have to cross your hands.)  Or think of a time when someone came up from behind you and caressed your shoulders.   Or, okay,  just rubbed your shoulders.   These are all pretty intimate acts because your shoulders, on top of your chest,  guard your heart.

Symbolically speaking,  God is bearing His people on His shoulders because He loves them, He desires closeness with them.   He will bear them up on His shoulders, taking them on, all of them,  even some day bearing their sins while the Cross is placed upon His shoulders.

holy cross

And that is the Lenten-Lesson part.   From the time of Moses we see the detailed, complex,  many-layered love that God has for us, His people, as He bears us on his shoulders (through the medium of the priests and their holy garments);  He “wears us” close to His heart,  and He gathers us all up into Himself.

He guards, guides,  protects, and instructs.

And during Lent,  we examine ourselves . . . to see how we’ve responded.

Our honest answer leads us to Calvary.





March 8, 2014

Well, it’s Friday today. . . .with a different sort of posting:


First Friday in Lent, actually, so it’s appropriate, and right, and proper to think of death.    I’ve had quite a lot of it recently.   Not just the almost 300 souls who are missing,  now,  in the Malaysian airplane.   Not just Hubbie, whose death seems so “recent” and all the attendant questions play over and over in my mind.

There was a young mother this week,  four children,  who came down with “flu-like symptoms” and went into kidney failure. . . and died,.     And there is a friend of this family, a good young lady, whom I love very  much, who was also recovering from a “flu”  and was admitted to the hospital this week for kidney failure….and whatever else.   She is still with us.

“Crossing the Bar” –


I came across that rather shabby sheet music at a used store one day.   I do love these old, old songs that once were played in the parlor, for the whole family to enjoy and perhaps sing along.   The lyrics caught my attention, and without realizing how meaningful they could some day be to me,  I purchased the sheet music.

So, in general,  I know we are supposed to live as if we’re going to die some day.   We are to live as though we will be on our death bed some day, thinking . . . .     It’s hard to come to terms with that idea, but there are those who have thought about it, have “crossed to the other side,”  and have left behind their thoughts for us.   We’re not alone, really.

Here are the lyrics, for those of you who have ever  thought of your own dying:

 Sunset and evening star,

      And one clear call for me!

And may there be no moaning of the bar,

      When I put out to sea,

   But such a tide as moving seems asleep,

      Too full for sound and foam,

When that which drew from out the boundless deep

      Turns again home.

   Twilight and evening bell,

      And after that the dark!

And may there be no sadness of farewell,

      When I embark;

   For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place

      The flood may bear me far,

I hope to see my Pilot face to face

      When I have crost the bar.

You don’t need to live by the seaside among  tides and moaning sandbars  to get the general idea.    The words are actually a poem written by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.    It was a popular poem to memorize and to recite, long ago,  when people entertained each other.

I don’t know what Tennyson’s faith was,  but he did know about the “Pilot”  who will be waiting for us when we, too, cross that great sandbar, over which there is no turning back from our journey into the deep black abyss of death.

And it’s through the Abyss of Death that those who follow Jesus Christ will follow in His footsteps, to His place, where we have no right to be because we are  sons and daughters of Adam’s fallen race.

But this Christ, this Son of God became Son of Adam….  and “paid for”  our right to follow Him all the way,  crossing the bar, into His home.

Sunset and evening star  . .  . And one clear call for me! 

crucifix first

  Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of One the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.   (St. Paul, the book of Romans,  teaching us the theological reasons for Christian hope.)

No real fear for what’s on the other side.   He did it first.    And that’s what Christendom thinks about, on  Fridays.