Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but resent yourselves to God as those
who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness.
1 Corinthians 14:12
So with yourselves; since you are eager for spiritual gifts, strive to excel in them for building up the church.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.
A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children, for indeed the days are coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ At that time people will say to the mountains, ‘Fall upon us!’ and to the hills ‘Cover us!’ for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?”
Please take time to reflect on the image below.
Meditation from our preachers.
From Vanda Chittenden
It has not been my experience that mothers need to be instructed to weep for their children, to live in their children’s suffering as well as their own, or to worry about their children’s futures. It happens quite naturally. Yet this is what Jesus counsels the women of Jerusalem to do when he encounters them weeping and lamenting as he makes his way wearily through the crowd. Jesus did not wallow in self-pity; rather, he trusted in his Father’s plan of salvation for a sinful, broken world. It was this trust that gave him the strength to rise up and carry on each time he fell under the weight of the cross.
I have lost count of how many times a woman reveals a recent worry, stress, loss, or deep suffering within her family, and another woman (sometimes a near-stranger) responds by drawing near and tenderly sitting in her suffering with her. Sometimes there is a relatable experience shared between the women, and oftentimes there is silently (or tearfully) shared compassion. Time and time again, I see this shared suffering strengthen relationships of mothers merely because others put their own needs aside and lift up another when they most need support. Reflecting on this station along Jesus’ way, I wonder if perhaps the compassion that the women showed Jesus strengthened him to continue.
How can I extend myself to be with others in their suffering?
How can I offer my own suffering to Christ so that I can do the work he needs me to do in the world?
Once again, it is the women in this situation who show great courage. It is they, and not the men, who are prepared to stand out against the crowd and show their sadness (and presumably disapproval) at what is happening to Jesus. Notice also Jesus’s ability to see the needs of others in this lethal situation in which he finds himself. He also delivers a very challenging prediction of the days that will come upon Jerusalem and its population.
Meanwhile he is identified with the criminal classes.
Have you ever seen people with this sort of courage that the women show? Have you ever been privileged to show this sort of courage yourself?
Have you ever known suffering people who had the vision to see the sufferings of others? Have you ever found yourself behaving in this way?
Lord Jesus Christ, compassion of God,
help us to see beyond our own struggles.
Open our hearts to the voices of all in need.
Fill us with the spirit of your unending
We pray this through Christ, our Lord.