[This is something I have used for Palm Sunday/Good Friday off and on for years.  With retirement looming June 1, I’m not sure I’ll have the opportunity to use this again.  So I’m sharing it here.  Permission is given to use this, but only if I’m given credit as the author.]

After dinner, you and your friends go for a walk, and stop in the park.  You ask them to wait for you, while you go away by yourself and think about what’s coming down.

It’s not a pretty picture.  It fills you with dread.  Your soul is so filled with sorrow that it almost leads you into despair.  If only there were some other way …  “Father, take this cup from me …  But no, this is why I’m here:  to do your will.”

In your distress, you return to your friends, seeking some comfort from them, from their presence — there is so little time.  And they’re sleeping for God’s sake.  Couldn’t they be there for you this once?

You wake them, but you’re so frustrated you decide you’d better be by yourself for a few minutes.  And when  you return, they’re sleeping again.  So you wake them again, and leave them, and return, and they’re still sleeping!

And now it’s too late.  “Get up!  On your feet!  I’m about to be betrayed!”  And they’re still rubbing the sleep out of their eyes when Judas comes, and with him a mass of people with clubs and swords.  Judas comes straight to you, and kisses you.  You know what that means.  It’s enough to break your heart.  But it doesn’t stop there.  No.  This is only the beginning.  They grab you roughly, but one of your followers draws his sword and cuts the ear off one of your captors.

So you shake off their hands.  “I have been teaching publically every day at the temple.  But you com after me with swords and clubs in the dead of night.  Yet what has been foretold must come to pass.

All your friends run away in fear of their lives, except for one, who follows as they take you away.  Until they grab him too, and he only escapes by leaving his clothes behind.

Then you face your accusers who are already gathered in waiting for you.  They are here to question you.  But you already know they are not interested in the truth.  They are only looking for their excuse.  Because you’ve called them into question:  their teaching, their authority, their livelihood.  And they cannot face the scrutiny.  They will not face themselves.

Out of the babel, you hear one question asked again.  “Are you the Son of God?”

“Dear God, spare me this!”  You shake your head to clear it, and you answer aloud, “I am.”

That gives them all they need.  They plan to kill you anyway.  And you’re here to die for the truth.  Still, you’re not prepared, not fully, when they begin to really abuse you, to hit you, and spit on you.  The room is smokey from the fires.  You begin to feel nauseous.  But after a while everything begins to blur around you and lose definition.

By the time they march you off the next morning you’re pretty well numb.  You aren’t feeling much, thank God.  The pain is mostly a distant throbbing, in your head, all over your body.  They tied you up almost before you realize what’s happening.  And then they lead you away, stumbling awkwardly over your feet.

The next thing you really know is that you’re being interrogated again — more gently this time.  But you already know, deep in your gut, that it will come to nothing.  Nothing will change.  Your friends have already abandoned you.  You don’t see any of them in the crowd even.  And, dear God!  That crowd, the very ones you’ve spent your life on!  They want your blood too.  they’d rather see a murderer set free than you.  After all you’ve done!

Then they strip you, and whip you, and mock you, dressing you in purple like a king or emperor, and pressing and turning a crown of thorns into your head.  And you thought you were numb …

And they keep hitting you, and spitting on you, and finally they take the cloak off you, and when you can’t carry your cross for yourself, they grab someone and make him carry it for you.  By this time you can barely stagger along.  You’re thirsty, you’ve had no sleep, no food, your body is one big ache, and you’re beginning to get delirious.

Just when you thought you were beyond feeling anything else, they pull you down, and … Oh!  The pain!  Searing through your hands …

And you must have passed out from the pain.  Because when you awake, you’re hanging in the air, and the agony is less …  Almost bearable …  And the crowd below, and the men being crucified with you are still mocking you.

You’re all alone.  There’s nobody left, only the pain.  Every breath you take is a struggle.  Your body is screaming in torment.  The pain just goes on and on …

“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”  And someone thrusts s a stick in your face.  And it begins to get dark.  And then …

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