Thursday, April 17, 2014


While the sand would become the stone
Which begat the spark
Turned to living bone
Holy, holy
Sanctus, sanctus...

Crucifixion inflicted possibly the most agonizing way to die ever contemplated on a human being by other human beings, but death in and of itself was not its primary purpose. 

Deconstructing how crucifixion was really done, scientist have learnt that unlike the images we see in painting and prints of the crucified Christ, the condemned was first impaled to a cross beam through his writs with large iron spikes that had broad heads to prevent 'ripping' while his feet were nailed through the ankle bones separately on either side of the upright beam or trunk that held it aloft.

This had the effect of inflicting the now dying individual with five or six hours of excruciating pain, screaming at the top of his lungs as his body tried to shift weight from unbearable agony in his ankles to unbearable pain in his wrists and back again until, finally exhausted, collapsed and suffocated under the weight of his own torso.

Crucifixions were also done in large groups for amplification of the torturous effect, leading to an entire afternoon of frenzied screams of the dying sending a loud and clear message to all within earshot (and it was usually done on a rise close to city center to allow for maximum sound carry) that the consequences of running afoul of Rome were not for the timid or the weak of heart and all of the citizens of Rome were absolutely clear on the concept. From a sheer shock and awe standpoint it was extremely successful, and over time a weekend crucifixion was all it took to quell all unrest and crime for miles for months to come.

I use this analogy to make a point, and it is this:

Jesus Christ was reported in the Bible to have prayed in agony until he sweated blood begging to not have to endure this, but in the end gave in the will of his Father.

Regardless of your religion or belief, the story of His torture and death is quite moving and should cause us all to pause and reflect on the story of this man who was willing to die for what he believed.

Whether you believe in Him or not is of little value as He remains the best example of sacrifice the world has ever known. 

As we enter Holy Week as observed by Christians the world over I would like to ask my fellow citizens to contemplate the lessons of the cross outside of the whole story, and possibly on the acceptance of pain as a pathway to peace and endurance as a means to glory.

Death to self and sacrifice have within them the answers to most of life's questions, and sometimes it is as simple as that. 

No comments:

Post a Comment