Stations of the Cross: Climate Change


Confronting and Contemplating Catastrophic Climate Change

A spiritual practice for Lent

Lent is a time to see, pray, and act.
Lent is a time to see the cross of Christ – in its very real forms today.  To see the ways that we crucify, and are crucified.  To see the harm we to the planet and to others by our actions and by our inaction.  Lent is a time to face the cross.  Because the only way beyond it is through it.
Lent is a time to pray… to bring what we see before God.  God is divine, unconditional agape love.  And we practice that agape love by paying attention so deeply that our prejudices and assumptions about what we see are stripped away, so we can see what is as it is, in itself.  So that we can see others as they really are, in themselves.  Do you have eyes, and fail to see?” asked Jesus.  Prayer opens our eyes wider, and opens our hearts more fully to receive what we see.
Lent is a time to act.  Having seen, having prayed, we know what needs to be done and we have the heart to do it.  We are spiritually prepared to be agents of resurrection and reconciliation for peace, justice, and human and environmental flourishing in the real world around us.

The Stations of the Cross

New Burklo identThe practice of contemplating the Stations of the Cross, depicting the final hours of Jesus’ life, is a very old one. To this day, many churches have gardens or sanctuaries in which the stations are situated.  Each of the 14 stations marks a point along the way to Jesus’ death.

The crucifixion of our time is catastrophic human-caused climate change.  This depiction of the Stations confronts us with the ways we have nailed our planet to this cross, and the choices we can make to turn away from this destruction. 

By squarely facing what we have done, we begin to experience the life on the other side of the cross.

Because the cross is suffering, and also its cure.

“…as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up…” (John 3: 14)

The Romans used the cross as a symbol of their power to torture their subjects into submission, but their brutality contributed to the moral decay and eventual collapse of their Empire.  The early Christians turned the empire’s intended meaning of the cross upside down and inside out, and made it a sign of liberation into life.
In the gospel of John (3:14), the cross is described as the homeopathic remedy for the human condition. 
In ancient times, homeopathy – the principle that “a dose of that which ails you is the cure” – was the dominant form of medicine. The cross is the central symbol of the Christian religion; it confronts its viewers with suffering, and it is through this homeopathic encounter that suffering is transcended.  Buddha’s first step on his path to enlightenment, known as the First Noble Truth, is that life is suffering.  Only by facing this truth can one begin to relieve it.  The first and most deeply paradoxical of the Twelve Steps toward recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous is to admit that one is powerless over alcohol.  It is by facing what crucifies us that we begin the process of resurrection toward healing, recovery, forgiveness, reconciliation, repentance, and renewal.
The passage from John refers to a passage from the Hebrew Scriptures (Numbers 21:9): “ So Moses made a bronze serpent, and set it on a pole; and if a serpent bit any man, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.”  The people of Israel, wandering in their desert exodus, began to despair and were then punished for their complaints with a plague of snakes that bit them and killed some of them.  Moses cried out to God for help, and God told him to put up a bronze serpent on a pole and have the people gaze at it, and thus be healed of the snakebites. The gospel of John says that as the serpent was lifted on the pole to save the people of Israel, so would Jesus have to be lifted up in order to save humanity.  The image of serpents on a pole, the caduceus, is the symbol of medicine.

The bronze serpent was spiritual homeopathy for snakebites. 
The cross is spiritual homeopathy for the ways we bring suffering on ourselves and others. To get to the other side of the cross, we are called to see, pray, and act – to reverse catastrophic human-caused climate change.

1.  Jesus is condemned to death

SEE:  Climate Change - THE BIG PICTURE