As we “Walk with Jesus” this Lent by studying the Stations of the Cross together, we focus on Station 5 this week: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the cross. For me, the genius of Henri Nouwen’s little book on the Stations of the Cross is that he invites us to relate the well known story of Jesus’ condemnation, journey with the cross and execution to the people we might meet in our modern world and daily lives.
When Simon of Cyrene steps out to help Jesus carry the cross, he models a truth that we still must live into today: “Jesus needs people to carry the cross with him…The hard painful work of salvation is a work in which God becomes dependent on human beings.” Nouwen takes special note of HOW Simon of Cyrene carried the cross, he walked with Jesus, he followed the cadence of the suffering. Simon, although able, did not jump in and hoist the heavy wood in a way that would have disrupted Jesus’ journey nor did he take over the process. Simon could not take the cross from Jesus, he could only walk with him. Simon models for us how to carry the cross, how to do the work that God depends on us to do and how to find a cadence that is in rhythm with those we are walking with. Nouwen says, in helping Jesus carry the cross in the way he did, Simon of Cyrene “discovered a new communion.”
Your family is invited to participate in one or all of the following experiences that might bring a deeper understanding of this Station of the Cross and allow you to discover a new communion like Simon of Cyrene:
1. SIGN UP to walk with families in our community who are experiencing food insecurity, and who come each week to our Wake Forest Community Meal Program to get dinner plates, produce and casseroles for their family joining the car line on the side of Hope House (334 North Allen St.) between 5-6 one or more of the Mondays of Lent, order your meals, receive the food you are given and share this food with your family as a form of Communion with our neighbors. We hope this experience will open discussion with your family and in our parish about walking with our neighbors in difficult times. We will limit it to 3 families of any size each Monday in Lent.
2. Visit the Community COVID Memorial at the St. John’s Labyrinth on Friday 3/12-Sunday 3/14 to give witness to the grief of those who have lost a loved one to COVID. Please share this information with your friends, family and community and email me any names that you would like displayed at the memorial. All are welcome.
3. The brand new Community Garden and Gathering Place at 504 North Taylor Street is ready to host volunteers and begin its first year of growing food for the community. If you are interested in learning more please check out details HERE and Sign Up to help! Follow news on the garden at:
Stop by: Garden hours: Thursdays @ 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Volunteer days: First and Third Saturdays