Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Cup of Sorrow

"Now I look at the man of sorrows. He hangs on a cross with outstretched arms.  It is Jesus, condemned by Pontius Pilate, crucified by Roman soldiers, and ridiculed by Jews and Gentiles alike.  But it is also us, the whole human race, people of all times and all places, uprooted from the earth as a spectacle of agony for the entire universe to watch.  "When I am lifted up from the earth," Jesus said.  "I shall draw all people to myself" (John 12:32).  Jesus, the man of sorrows, and we, the people of sorry, hang there between heaven and earth, crying out "God our God, why have you forsaken us?"

"Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?"  Jesus asked his friends.  They answered yes, but had no idea what he was talking about.  Jesus' cup is the cup of sorrow, not just his own sorrow but the sorrow of the whole human race. It is a cup full of physical, mental, and spiritual anguish.  It is the cup of starvation, torture, loneliness, rejection, abandonment, and immense anguish.  It is the cup full of bitterness.  Who wants to drink it?  It is the cup that Isiah calls "the cup of God's wrath.  The chalice, the stupefying cup, ou have drained to the dregs," (Isaiah 51:17) and what the second angel in the Book of Revelation calls the "the wine of retribution" (Revelation 14:8), which Babylon gave the whole world to drink.

.   .   .   .   .

In the midst of sorrows is consolation, in the midst of darkness is light, in the midst of Babylon is a glimpse of Jerusalem, and in the midst of the army of demons is the consoling angel.  The cup of sorrow, inconceivable as it seems, is also the cup of joy.  Only when we discover this in our own life can we consider drinking it."

Henri J.M. Nouwen, Can You Drink the Cup?

The Thirteenth Station

The body of Jesus is placed in the arms of his mother

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

Because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

All you who pass by, behold and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow. My eyes are spent with weeping; my soul is in tumult; my hear is poured out in grief because of the downfall of my people. “Do not call me Naomi (which means Pleasant), call me Mara (which means Bitter); for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.”

Her tears run down her cheeks:
And she has none to comfort her.

Let us pray.

Silence is kept

Lord Jesus, you consoled Mary and Martha in their distress, you wept at the grave of Lazarus your friend, dry the tears of those who weep and comfort us in our sorrow that we may go forth strengthened in your love. Amen.

Holy God,
Holy and Strong,
Holy and Immortal,

Have mercy on us

Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England
The Archbishops’ Council 2000
Stations of the Cross.doc.5 — 26 March 2004