Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head, and clothed him in a purple cloak, and they came to him and said, 'Hail, King of the Jews!' And they struck him repeatedly.
(This post is part of a Lenten series on praying the Stations of the Cross - a devotional practice that is said to have started with Mary after the death and resurrection of Jesus. To start at the beginning, see the overview provided on March 5, 2023, and then go from there!)
God used Christ’s suffering, pain, and rejection as an avenue for great redemption, love, and cleansing. He aims to do the same with our pain. Our inevitable earthly sufferings are a built-in invitation to union with Christ and participation in something heavenly.
The glory to come didn’t take away from the intensity of Jesus’ suffering. He had even asked for this “cup” to be removed. God often doesn’t give us a way around the pain, only through. But he does promise that suffering is never the whole picture, even when it feels all-consuming. The stuckness of our bodies (or emotions) when we’re bound up (like Jesus at the scourging post) does not limit the movement of our spirits.
Jesus was an advocate for peace, and he was still a victim of murder. Pursuing goodness is not an avenue of self-protection or controlling others who act out of violence. It is, instead, an avenue of sustenance from God through all things.
A note about mindfulness
Mindfulness practices help us develop a less resistant relationship to our pain so that we do not add to our suffering by beating our heads against the wall of reality. Accepting what is already here provides a pathway for God’s redemptive work in the midst of the pain. It won’t last forever, and we can know that God is working good things within us - even when we wish, like Jesus, that there was a way to get there that went around (instead of through) the suffering.
(For a list of mindfulness practices that help you stay present to yourself and God in the midst of difficulty as you pray the Stations of the Cross, check out the Guides for Practice available here.)
Image Credit: Cathedral of St. Andrew
Artist: Suzanne Young
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I am Irene Kraegel. I am licensed as a clinical psychologist and teach mindfulness on a faith-based university campus. I practice mindfulness because it opens me up to God (a.k.a. brings joy). I am writing here in hopes of sharing some of my experiences and thoughts related to the practice of mindfulness in the life of a Christian. Thanks for reading!
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