Station #5 Simon Helps Jesus Carry His Cross (Luke 23:26)
Simon of Cyrene had no idea what that day would hold for him. He was on his way in from the country, probably had plenty of important things to do, probably had no desire to help this criminal. And yet they laid the cross of Christ upon him to carry. Now identified with this condemned one as some reviled and others lamented. Yet I imagine Simon was never the same after this interruption to his day. As his eyes met with those of a very pathetic looking man. Battered and torn and unable to carry his own cross. Probably not a savior or a king in Simon's mind. Yet as they labored under the weight of this suffering, no words exchanged, but many glances and helping hands - he encountered God. And could never have been the same after that day. Maybe haunted by that face. Maybe set free as he watched the events unfold.
And I, as I labor, encounter Christ in the "distressing disguise of the poor." I'd rather not be interrupted. I'd prefer the weight not be so heavy. But he looks back at me with eyes like flint. And I will never be the same.
Station #10 Jesus is Stripped of His Clothing (Luke 23:34)
The cross is not only a place of pain and sorrow, but of shame. They stripped from him his clothes and divided them up. All earthly chance of pride was gone. Complete vulnerability. No way to save face. He is a high priest who can sympathize.
My friends on the street are often stripped of honor and dignity. And handed shame. Living their lives in front of watching, darting eyes. Waking up on the sidewalk - their bedroom.
You know shame, Lord Christ. And you bore it. You bestow honor. You clothe in robes of righteousness. You are exalted. And you exalt your children to reign with you.