Walking with Jesus…Backwards and Up-side Down
April 23, 2019
Usually when I walk the stations in the Meditation Garden at St. Mark’s I start on the west side, at the “entrance”, and walk counterclockwise, ending at the bridge. Today I go backwards, over the bridge and past the last station, which is named Miracles.
That’s because this is a backwards and upside-down kind of day. We call it “Good” Friday but it is a day of pain, remembering Jesus’ suffering, death and burial. One up-side down sign is a pink-red blooming cactus along the path, defying the sorrow that marks this day and bringing beauty.
I see things in a different way when I go backwards through the Garden. I go first through the new section of the Meditation Garden niches, back along the path, stopping by each station in reverse, ending in the original section of the niches. I notice the names on the plaques and remember standing with sorrowful families and friends by the niches, interring the remains of loved ones. The extraordinary lushness of the garden this year stands in contrast to the tears that have watered the ground there.
Jesus turned things upside-down all the time, touching the sick that no one touched, in order to heal them. He held children when others thought that was silly. He put a hated tax collector in his inner circle and said that to be great we must be willing to a servant.
Then Jesus died so that we might have life. Without his dying there is no Easter, no resurrection life. That shows us that many times when we die to something it leads to life, and without the dying nothing new can come. In fact, a resurrected life requires leaving behind that which drags us down, pulls us into a dark hole, makes us less than God wants of us…we leave behind one life, sometimes a sinful life, in order to have new life in Jesus. Jesus shows us that we are worth that much to him, to die in order to bring us life.
Jesus’ dying shows us the way to this life. So today we walk in reverse, into the shadows and darkness and stay there for a bit, in order to begin to catch a glimpse of the way that leads to new life. Come on this Good Friday walk with me.
O Lord, what wondrous love is this that shows us the way to life by accompanying us through sorrow and shadows. Give us the courage to go there with you. In Jesus name. Amen.