Jesus falls: bowed down with the crushing burden of the cross
Jesus falls: the weight of the world’s woes on his shoulders
Jesus falls: as his final act of self-emptying comes closer.
He has already been on his knees – washing the disciples’ feet
Three times he has fallen with his face to the ground in the Garden of Gethsemane,
Pleading with his Father for the cup of suffering to be taken from him,
His disciples unable to keep awake,
unable to watch and pray with him.
Baptists do not traditionally pray before the Stations of the Cross, or use a crucifix to aid their devotions. Once I was at a Catholic retreat centre in Leeds where I found the large wooden crucifix with the women at the foot of it really helpful. I was going through a very difficult time and I found the crucifix beneficial to my prayer life: to learn to identify with Jesus, to feel his pain and to recognise our sorrows in the light of His sorrow. I found this prayer on the internet which expresses some of my thoughts about ‘Jesus falls’.
‘Lord Jesus Christ, you have borne all our burdens and you continue to carry us. Our weight has made you fall.
Lift us up, for by ourselves we cannot rise from the dust. Free us from the bonds of frailty and sin. In place of a heart of stone, give us a heart of flesh, a heart capable of seeing. Make us aware of your presence. Keep us sober and vigilant, capable of resisting the forces of evil. Help us to recognise the spiritual and material needs of others, and to give them the help they need.
Lift us up, so that we may lift others up. Give us hope at every moment of darkness, so that we may bring your hope to the world.’
And a hymn that we do not often sing in churches today:
‘Take up your cross, let nots its weight
Pervade your soul with vain alarm
His strength shall bear your spirit up,
Sustain your heart and nerve your arm’
Meditate on the picture of ‘Jesus falls – ‘Is it nothing to you all you that pass by?’