Runners Forum - Kick Runners banner

1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,568 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good Friday<br><br>
The roughly hewed plank was resting heavily on my shoulder. My arm was starting to go numb and I kept looking over my other shoulder to see if Tony was about to give me the “go ahead”, instead, he just gave a little shake of his head and whispered “Father will give the signal.” And as if on queue, Father looked up from the Altar and down the aisle to where we were waiting and sang “Behold the wood that made the cross to which our Savior, Jesus Christ, was nailed to.” Everyone in the church stood and turned to watch the beginning of the procession of the cross down the centre aisle. I started down the aisle at a slow pace, as instructed. The plank was new this year because the old one that had been outside the front doors of the church had been stolen sometime ago, and because it was so new, this plank was bristling with thousands of little slivers just waiting to find purchase in my bare hands. It was eight feet long, 15 inches wide, 3 inches thick, and must have weighed at least a hundred pounds. There was no way a single man could carry it by himself, so, Rob was at the other end of the plank feeling the same bristly annoyance that I was. Directly behind Rob were Barbara and Tony carrying the second piece of this wooden project, and behind them were Rob’s to little boys carrying hammers.<br><br>
I walked down the aisle towards the front of the church and stopped about a third of the way, as instructed. Again Father sang out “Behold the wood that made the cross to which our Savior, Jesus Christ, was nailed to.” This act was followed out twice more before we reached the front of the Alter where Rob and I thankfully hefted the load off of our shoulders and lowered it onto the ground. Barbara and Tony followed and rested their plank across the top of the one we had just laid down. The only noise in the packed church was of the four of us pushing the planks around to get them where we wanted them…all eyes watching our every move.<br><br>
A few weeks before, Tony had approached me and asked if I would be willing to help out on Good Friday for the Veneration of the Cross. I had never taken part of this because I always felt there were certain members of the church that did these types of activities more pious than me. Yes, I go to church weekly. Yes, I have been a member of this Parish for over ten years. But, I’m no Saint, and have never felt “there yet” when it came time to step up to the plate to do these types of things. So my first thoughts when asked were “I’m not a good enough person to do this” and “I’d feel like an imposter”. But after some thought, I came to a realization and told Tony that I would do it.<br>
After Tony and Barbara laid their plank down, Tony retired to the pulpit to read the “act of crucifixion” while the cross was being assembled. When the cross sections were in place I turned to one of Rob’s boys and held my hand out for the hammer he was holding. He smiled at me and gave me the heavy mallet that he had been holding with both hands, I smiled back at him. I then turned my attention to the task at hand.<br><br>
The smaller plank had five predrilled holes to act as a guide to where the nails I was about to use would go. I had earlier strapped a tool belt around my waist and the nails were inside one of the pockets. As Tony started reading aloud I found the first of the five nails and placed it in one of the holes. Tony’s deep, baritone voice boomed through the church while I hammered the nail into the cross.<br><br>
“The cross is laid on the ground and the victim is placed upon it”. Bam My hammer came down on the head of the nail. “Nails, about 7 inches long and with a diameter of roughly 3/8 of an inch are driven in the wrists. Bam The points would go into the vicinity of the median nerve, causing shocks of pain to radiate through the arms. It is possible to place the nails between the bones so that no fractures occur”. BAM! The final blow on the nail was the heaviest, to drive it deep, both into the wood and into everyone’s emotions. “Standing at the crucifixion sites are upright posts, called stipes, standing about 7 feet high. In the center of the stipes is a crude seat, called a sedile or sedulum, which serve as a support for the victim”. I fumble in the tool belt for the second nail, find it, and place it in the hole.<br><br>
“The crucifix is then lifted on to the stipes. The feet are then nailed to the stipes. Bam To allow for this, the knees had to be bent and rotated laterally, being left in a very uncomfortable position. When the cross is erected upright, there is a tremendous strain put on the wrists, arms and shoulders, Bam resulting in a dislocation of the shoulder and elbow joints. The arms, being held up and outward, hold the rib cage in a fixed and inspiratory position which makes it extremely difficult to exhale, and impossible to take a full breath. The victim will only be able to take very shallow breaths. BAM! As time passes, the muscles, from the loss of blood, lack of oxygen and the fixed position of the body, will undergo severe cramps and spasmodic contraction” I again reach into the tool belt for the third nail and look up towards my son who is watching me from among the Altar servers. His eyes are fixed on me and his face is slightly ashen. He is a good boy. He is a better person than me and always will be. I turn my attention back to the task.<br><br>
Bam “The chain of events which ultimately lead to suffocation is as follows: With the weight of the body being supported by the sedulum, the arms are pulled upward. Bam This causes the intercostal and pectoral muscles to stretch. Furthermore, movement of these muscles is opposed by the weight of the body. BAM! I reach for the forth nail and notice that Rob’s little boy has now sought shelter behind his dad’s pant leg. He’s watching with wide eyes. I don’t know if he’s old enough to understand what is going on but I’m sure he has sensed something of great magnitude was happening. I place the forth nail into the hole. Bam “With the muscles of respiration thus stretched, the respiratory bellows become relatively fixed. Bam As dyspnea develops and pain in the wrists and arms increase, the victim is forced to raise the body off the sedulum, thereby transferring the weight of the body to the feet. Respirations become easier”, Bam!<br><br>
I see my wife and daughter standing in the front row of pews. My wife is clutching a tissue and pressing her fist against her mouth to try and keep from crying but she’s not succeeding…she’s not the only one. The fifth nail. Bam “but with the weight of the body being exerted on the feet, pain in the feet and legs mount. Bam When the pain becomes unbearable, the victim again slumps down on the sedulum with the weight of the body pulling on the wrists and again stretching the intercostal muscles”. BAM! The last nail turns what had been two planks into a cross. I stand, turn to Rob, and give him the hammer. “Thus, the victim alternates between lifting his body off the sedulum in order to breathe and slumping down on the sedulum to relieve pain in the feet”. Rob kneels and hammers a seven inch spike into the right side of the cross member then does the same on the left side, signifying where Christ’s hands were. “Eventually , he becomes exhausted or lapses into unconsciousness so that he can no longer lift his body off the sedulum. In this position, with the respiratory muscles essentially paralyzed, the victim suffocates and dies”.<br><br>
Tony finishes and watches what as we continue. Rob’s other son hands the hammer he’s holding to Barbara who hammers a spike into the bottom of the cross to signify where Christ’s feet were pierced. She then takes the final spike and hammers it into the right side of the cross to signify where Christ had been stabbed by a soldiers spear.<br><br>
Barbara finishes, the sound of heavy mallet on heavy wood ceases. The project has been completed. The act of building the cross along with the description of crucifixion is so powerful that it leaves no one untouched. Grown men have tears in their eyes while others weep openly .<br><br>
Tony approaches us to help us to stand the cross upright. Rob and I stand behind it to keep it in place and balance it. Father comes before it, kneels down and lays his hand on it while bending his head in prayer. He then leans forward, kisses the base of it, stands, and leaves. The parishioners follow, each bending to knee and either laying a hand on the cross or kissing it. They all carry a seven inch spike that they have been holding throughout the service and deposit into a basket at the base of the cross. There are a lot of people and it takes some time for the queue to come to an end. My arms are shaking from the strain of holding the cross up….and maybe something more.<br>
Once the last person pays their respects, it takes all four of us to lift the cross and slide it into the steel base that is sitting off to one side where it stands on its own. I couldn’t imagine a person carrying this by them self. Once in place, we take our turn to revere the cross and depart in separate directions to join our families. My wife squeezes my hand when I slide in beside them.<br><br>
Why did I change my mind about helping with the cross this Good Friday? Didn’t I just say that I wasn’t a good enough person to do this? I came to realize that maybe I was the perfect person to build the cross symbolizing Christ’s crucifixion because I am not perfect. He died for my imperfections. I’m human and therefore can never be perfect. I’m equally responsible as those who did build the cross on which Christ died. I build that cross, and do so daily. Does it make me “unworthy”? I used to think so, but no longer do. It only makes me human. Do I want to be a better person? Do I need to be a better person? By all means, yes. But, I need not look any further than my wife, my son, my daughter to see what it means to be “a better person” and strive to their expectations of who they want and need me to be.<br><br>
What I find truly amazing is that a man that graced this earth over two thousand years ago freely gave Himself up to death for me. A death that is so unimaginably cruel and brutal. A death outlined in my story. A death that He feared but knew had to happen. Even those that don’t believe that Christ was the Messiah can’t deny the courage that man had. He was a man ahead of His time. He was a revolutionary. He was a man that used love and peace as his weapons.<br><br>
Can I be a better person?<br><br>
For Him, maybe I can.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,043 Posts
Thank you, torque.<br><br>
Just got back from the service.<br><br>
It wasn't as powerful for me this year as in the past. But it was still painful to say "crucify him" during the acclimation of the Gospel when the congregation participates in the reading.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,043 Posts
Oh, and the most wonderful thing about tonight was that when I left the church afterwards, a group of our Spanish speaking parishioners was performing an outdoors stations of the cross.<br><br>
I heard them say "senor" a lot. God. Senor.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,523 Posts
Thank you for sharing this today. Its a great reminder of what we have to be thankful for. <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif">
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,568 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
yer welcome.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top