STATIONS OF THE CROSS
Station 5: The Cross is laid on Simon of Cyrene
Location: Corner of W. Doty St. and
Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
A reading from the Gospel according to Mark
Then they led him out to crucify him. They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross; it was Simon of Cyrene. (Mark 15:20b-21)
With Jesus tired and weak, the soldiers escorting him could see that he might not be able to carry the heavy cross-beam much further himself. It was beneath their dignity as Romans to carry the cross. Then they spotted someone who could be forced to help —a foreigner from Cyrene. Cyrene was a long way from Jerusalem, in what is now Libya. Simon’s case is so familiar: another person targeted because of his origin, his accent, his skin. A stranger in a strange land, without help, without rights, without recourse.
We stand on a street bearing the name of a great leader and prophet, Martin Luther King Jr., who dreamed of an America that had outlived her racial divides and injustices; but the fulfillment of that dream remains a distant hope. Still, people of color and immigrants often perform the hardest, lowest-paying, most dangerous jobs, if they can find work at all. Meanwhile, white nationalism and overt racism are resurgent across our country. Hate crime rates spiked in 2017. And increasingly aggressive ICE raids have torn families apart and terrorized immigrant communities.
Honoring Simon of Cyrene, let us honor and hold in prayer, all those who are targets of hatred or injustice because of their race, ethnicity, or immigration status.
A Prayer for Unity
O God, who created all peoples in your image, we thank you for the wonderful diversity of races and cultures in this world. Enrich our lives by ever-widening circles of fellowship, and show us your presence in those who differ most from us, until our knowledge of your love is made perfect in our love for all your children, and your Kingdom is fulfilled in justice and dignity for all; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Holy and mighty,
Holy immortal one,
have mercy upon us.