A journey to the cross is a journey to repentance. It’s a journey to deep personal change. Will you take this journey with me?
Date: About noon, Friday, April 7 30A.D.
The crucifixion of Jesus.
Now there was movement on the Mother’s Hill. A middle-aged couple came down. Their heads were hanging. They clung to each other, supported each other, every step an anguish. They made their way before the encircling pikemen.
I knew who they were—knew why they had come. Here were the broken parents, broken beyond this world’s repair. I met them at the base of the hill, told them they had some time.
They advanced up the Skull. She fell, fell whimpering before her son. Thaddaeus. Boisterous soldiers fell silent and then walked off, right off the hill. The family was alone with their grief.
Having witnessed this grim but welcoming reception, another party stepped off the Mother’s Hill and advanced to Golgotha. This was a group of five. The women clung to one another in couples. They were shepherded by a tall young man. His fresh face and scant beard bore witness to his youth. I recognized him. He had been with Jesus, had stood closest to him.
He introduced himself. He said his name was John. I received his party—ushered them by the outer ring of soldiers.
They were bowed by the sight. They clung to one another afresh, repulsed by the horror of what met their eyes.
After a few moments the young man came before two of the huddled older women. He stooped to speak with one of the women—the Christ’s mother, I assumed. Then with his arm about her shoulder, John advanced up the rock mound.
Jesus saw them.
“Woman . . . behold your son!”
There was a double- edged meaning here, almost too painful for words. At first I thought he was simply referring to himself—to his own wretched state. And perhaps on one level he was.
His body sagged. But then he thrust himself up and forward for another breath, and with his next words his meaning became clear. To the young man, to his disciple, he said, “Behold your mother!”
He had committed his mother into this disciple’s care. She fell to her knees. She trembled, unable to speak. Only wretched sobbing was heard from within the circle of the hill.
In due time I led both families off. They left willingly. This was too much to bear, too much to watch.
From his cross Animal watched the Mother’s Hill. But no one came. That’s when he broke—broke like a clay pot dropped onto the hard rock of the Skull.
He sobbed. He moaned.
His tears flowed like rivers into his dark, young beard.
But no mother came. No one came at all.
The wind picked up. The sky grew dark. Then it grew darker yet. The horses began to neigh and paw the ground. In the distance a dog barked. It was a bark that changed to a howl but ended in a whimper. I looked about. I could see it on every face. It was fear. Raw fear. This was not the dark of cloud or storm. This was the sun covering, hiding its face from what it saw upon the earth.
A total darkness descended, as black as any night.
There was a discord here—a discord utter and complete. If heaven and earth had come into some perfect union—some perfect harmony—on the day Jesus arrived in this city, it was in blaring dissonance now. Blaring dissonance echoed off the empty chambers of my soul.
It was a deafening darkness.
The mocking crowds fell silent. The highway traffic stopped. All was still.
Only the three men were heard. Heard in the darkness. Three men working to maintain this perverted thing called life.
Up to catch a breath.
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