Stations of the Cross

Fourteenth Station: Jesus is Laid in the Tomb

Play

A photograph, paten and chalice, scorched corporal, metal altar, suitcases, golden discs

A photograph, paten and chalice, scorched corporal, metal altar, suitcases, golden discs

Ocotal, Nicaragua, 1983.  For over a decade, into 1990, a civil war raged in Nicaragua.  The US government opposed the people’s revolution begun in 1979 to overthrow the Somoza dictatorship.  I took this photograph at a police roadblock.  The nightmare dog of dreams is in the foreground; military jeeps in the background, with a few people set in the dusty shadows of doorways.  A metallic altar supports this photo on which is set a scorched corporal and an empty chalice and paten.   In front of the altar is a pile of open and empty suitcases.  It is a scene of desolation – the desolation out of which so many people live their lives. On the wall in back of the altar are golden halos bespeaking of the Grace of God that underlies all suffering and of the Good News of the Resurrection.

 

Thirteenth Station: The Body of Jesus is Placed in the Arms of His Mother

Play

Stations of the Cross 13: Photograph, fluffed white pillows

Photograph, fluffed white pillows

July 2003, Monrovia, Liberia.  A country in the midst of civil war led by another madman professing Christ Crucified, murdering opponents and sending the National Treasury abroad.  A young mother wearing a new shirt imprinted with the words United States of America Cradles in her arms a dying child.  Her distress is no less than was Mary’s in holding the body of her dead son, Jesus.  Too many weeping mothers; too many dead children; too many tears of savagery …..and yet as we view these news photographs, day after day, from the perspective of our comfortable lives, we are numbed and immobilized to relieve such suffering.

Twelfth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross

Play

Stations of the Cross 12: Religious paintings in a wheelbarrow and a steel ladder

Religious paintings in a wheelbarrow and a steel ladder

National Liquidators parking lot, Queens, NY, June 12, 2003.  50 acrylic paintings in the two sizes of medium and large priced at $19.00 and $29.00 respectively.  All are copies of great masterpieces by the same artist, though he signs each using different names.  I commissioned 10 fragments of Michelangelo’s “Act of Creation” from the Sistine Chapel.  Was the son of Man proven by death to be just a man?  Was his life of more meaning than simply paint on canvas – mass-produced art we can stick in a cart and roll away?  What must those disciples have thought when their Lord and Savior died on the cross?

 

Eleventh Station: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross

Play

Stations of the Cross 11: School chairs, scales, ropes, television sets, pulley wheel, platform

School chairs, scales, ropes, television sets, pulley wheel, platform

At the first installation of the Stations in the summer of 2003 in Minneapolis, when two television sets facing in opposite directions were activated, one set broadcast a Papal Mass from Rome and the other an evangelical service on the local Protestant channel.  The selection of these television stations was unscripted.  Our actions today, no different than those from 2,000 years ago, follow from what we perceive to be the truth.  Testimony is given.  Its validity is weighed.  Actions are taken.  Sometimes it leads to lethal injection.  Sometimes mistakes are made and the guiltless are murdered.  Only God can remove the nails and breathe the grace of life into death.

Tenth Station: Jesus is Stripped of His Garments

Play

Stations of the Cross 10: White shirts with some displaying bullet holes, flags of all the countries in the United Nations, 300 egg cartons

White shirts with some displaying bullet holes, flags of all the countries in the United Nations, 300 egg cartons

We are numbed by the photographs of men and women, young and old, civilian and military, terrorist and peacekeeper, from every religious and ethnic background, lying dead or wounded with their clothing partially or totally ripped from their bodies by bullets, bombs or shrapnel. We especially mourn the young, not yet fully hatched into adulthood, who bear the burden of so much warfare and violence. Before being nailed to the cross, Jesus was stripped of his garments by the same dark forces of greed, hatred, fear, and oppression operative today.

Ninth Station: Jesus Falls a Third Time

Play

Stations of the Cross 9: Cocktail glasses, furniture piece, girl’s mannequin, daily edition of The Plain Dealer

Cocktail glasses, furniture piece, girl’s mannequin, daily edition of The Plain Dealer Cocktail glasses, furniture piece, girl’s mannequin, daily edition of The Plain Dealer

 

A Florida topless bar, 2001.  Immediately prior to leaving Florida for the attacks on the World Trade Center, Mohamed Atta and a fellow terrorist were reported to have visited a topless bar in the vicinity of their flight training school.  Upon departing, they left a Koran.  Some in the media said that this showed that they were simply hirelings as no devout Muslims would visit such a place nor leave behind the Holy Book.  But perhaps instead they saw it as an act of religious courage – so strong now in their faith that religious zealots stumble, mishearing the call of God’s commandments and bringing death instead of life?

 

 

Eighth Station: Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

Play

Stations of the Cross 8: Ironing boards and irons, white shifts, women’s portraits, Stars of David

Ironing boards and irons, white shifts, women’s portraits, Stars of David

Wooden ironing board reconfigured to stand at different heights representing women’s toil.  Each board supports an iron on which is attached a portrait of a young woman.  They are of different ethnic makeup and races.  The board covers are striped black and white to reference prison attire.  Beneath each portrait hangs a simple white shift, lit and displaying a Star of David.  On the way to his crucifixion, Jesus meets women of Jerusalem who mourn his fate.  He cautions them not to weep for him but for themselves and their children given the days ahead saying:  “Happy are the barren, the wombs that never bore a child…” And thus, 2,000 years later we find the same forces that put Jesus to death, murdering Jews and other “undesirables” in concentration camps, the murder led by those who called themselves Christian.

Seventh Station: Jesus Falls a Second Time

Play

Stations of the Cross 7: Shrouded figures, a ceramic tile floor and a painted giraffe

Shrouded figures, a ceramic tile floor and a painted giraffe

Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, mid 1990s.  A 5-year siege of its residents (mainly Muslim) by Serbian forces (mainly Christian) leaving 12,000 dead (1,600 children), was the worst European siege since WWII.  As the people began to starve, they slaughtered the zoo animals for food.  We all stumble and fall but for what?

 

Sixth Station: A Woman Wipes the Face of Jesus

Play

Stations of the Cross 6: A silk handkerchief, Blue Morpho butterfly, block and tackle, urn and a steel tower

A silk handkerchief, Blue Morpho butterfly, block and tackle, urn and a steel tower

A white silk handkerchief hovers over an urn in the bottom of which rests an iridescent Blue Morpho butterfly.  On the road to execution, a woman reaches out of the crowd and wipes Jesus’ face.  Just to look at him – hair matted with blood, skin streaked with sweat and dirt – was painful, but to wipe his face in public was an act both of devotion and courage.  Yet in this act, she recognizes the mystery of God’s grace in the eyes of her beloved.

Fifth Station: The Cross is Laid on Simon of Cyrene

Play

Stations of the Cross 5: A child’s fire engine crushed, model home in flames, Everlast punching bags

A child’s fire engine crushed, model home in flames, Everlast punching bags

New York City, 9/11.  It is a warm and sunny September morning.   There is comfort in the known environment, the familiar faces, even in that which is commonplace.  Suddenly the sky rains fire down upon you and nothing is ever the same again.  It is a warm and sunny day in Jerusalem where you have gone to conduct business and suddenly two soldiers from the occupying forces require you to carry the cross of a condemned man to the site of crucifixion.  Nothing is ever the same again.


Fourth Station: Jesus Meets His Afflicted Mother

Play

Stations-of-the-Cross 4: Cameras on tripods, 35 mm film, children’s books

Cameras on tripods, 35 mm film, children’s books

Clifford Goes to Dog School, Blue’s Big Birthday, Caillou, Angelina Has Wings, The Little Golden Book of God, Just Me And My Mom.  Contemporary books mothers know from bedtime reading.  Coupled with the photographs taken at eventful moments in a child’s life, they provide a data bank of memories.  Many families ago a thirty-three-year-old Jesus looked into the eyes of his beloved mother and saw a well of sadness and suffering no theology could comfort.  No more stories to be told.  No more treasured moments to be captured by the camera of the eye.  It was over and sorrow overwhelms.

Third Station: Jesus Falls the First Time

Play

Stations of the Cross 3:Turtle shells, smashed watches, steel vices

Turtle shells, smashed watches, steel vices

Five turtle shells split in half and reconnected by threaded industrial rods and nuts.  Resting on the lower shell of each is a smashed wristwatch.  We live our lives without a righteous relationship with the rhythm of the natural order.  We run faster and faster within our allotted time to own more and more items we don’t really need.  We stand on the sidelines as lumbering in old growth forests continues; as our SUVs pollute the atmosphere; as summer homes are built on endangered breeding grounds.  We are tripped up by arthritic hips, abused bodies, inebriation, and the weight of accumulated environmental

Second Station: Jesus Takes Up His Cross

Play


Photo: A table setting with cautionary covering; at each place bones held in leg-hold traps, chairs at different heights

A table setting with cautionary covering; at each place bones held in leg-hold traps, chairs at different heights

Any place/any time.  A business luncheon – plans to be developed and careers to be furthered. Suddenly there is a racist put down, a homophobic joke, or an act of sexual harassment.  You find yourself facing issues of illegality or unethical practices or even pure corruption.  At what point and at what cost do you act?  When do you risk your career or even your life for what you know to be Jesus’ teachings?  When do you take up your cross?

 

First Station Jesus is Condemned to Death

Play

Photo First Station- A jury box, iron and scorched corporals, television sets, CD players

A jury box, iron and scorched corporals, television sets, CD players

A colonial styled courtroom jury box enclosing a pedestal-supported scorched corporal and iron.  At the base is a pile of similarly scorched corporals representing those prophets of Israel condemned to death in previous eras.  Off to both sides are banks of television sets broadcasting on static.  Set among them are speakers proclaiming in twenty different languages “Crucify Him!” as Jesus is condemned to death.  The media circus is over.  The act of those in power has been accomplished.

The recordings of the guided walk by Rev. Faulkner can be downloaded for listening on your portable music player.
To add to iTunes use this link: 
itpc://trinitycleveland.org/blog/category/stations-of-the-cross/feed
For other portable music players copy and paste the following into the player’s podcast manager:
http://trinitycleveland.org/blog/category/stations-of-the-cross/feed