22Then they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull).23And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it.24And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take. 25It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him.26The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.”27And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left.29Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days,30save yourself, and come down from the cross!”31In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves and saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself.32Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also taunted him.
The eleventh station of the Via Dolorosa is marked by a beautiful Latin shrine. This is the place where tradition tells us that soldiers nailed Jesus’ hands and feet to the cross. It is only 9:00 in the morning. For us, the thought of arriving at this eleventh station seems much longer, days really. But it is still only mid-morning. The sounds are deafening. The clanging rings out over the land and settles into our hearts–a nail of greed, a nail of selfishness, nails of betrayal and hatred and war, nails of hunger and poverty, nails of not accepting and loving each other, nails of being so sure of one’s beliefs, so sure of one’s understanding of who God is and what God desires, that we miss seeing what God is trying to show us. It is finished. In the Name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.
It is here that our regrets sink in. It is here that we want to go back, we want a redo. We would do it differently next time. We would not ask so many questions as to why he was doing what he was doing and to whom. We would just watch and listen and learn from him how to love. We would not fight and grapple with each other over who was in charge, over who was the most important, over who was his favorite. Instead, we would bask in his spirit and his radiance and his love of equality for all. And when asked if we knew who he was, we would not betray him. Rather, we would step forward no matter the cost. Because grace is not cheap. But now we know how incredibly rich it really is. Yes, we would stand up and be counted as one who follows him, who brings healing and love to the world, who doesn’t need credit or acclaim, and who is willing to lose one’s life to find it. But there are no redos just now.
Regrets can be debilitating. They can pull us into the past and keep us there. It is not healthy. Regrets can also be life-giving if we allow them to compel us to change, to perhaps turn a corner that we did not see before, to become something new, a New Creation, to become the one that God calls us to be. And, yet, we still want the easy way out. After all, we are empty cross people, Resurrection people! And so maybe we walk away from this moment entirely too quickly. After all, it makes us uncomfortable and God offers us life. So too quickly we let it go, too quickly we move past our regrets without letting them change us.
The most difficult thing for us to face is that so little has changed. We still try to be the one on top. We still shut the door to those who are not like us. We still close our doors so we don’t have to think about poverty or homelessness. We still justify war. We still will do anything it takes to defend the life that we have created. We still betray. We forget to love; we forget to bring healing; we forget to lose our life. So, would we crucify Jesus today? Would things go differently? Only we can tell…
So on this Lenten journey, stop for a moment. Look at the cross. And let your regrets of what should have been done differently change your pathway.
Grace and Peace,