The Twelfth Station: Jesus dies

The Twelfth Station: Jesus dies

Death is not to be feared.
How can it be when he has gone before?
At worst, it is merely a cessation.
The heart’s reflex ceases.
All function, starved of oxygen, is stilled:
no spark,
no impulse,
a stopping.
And yet, mortality naturally resists death.
Living seeks its own continuance.

His life’s thread is stretched to breaking-point,
a string so tight one touch of the bow will snap it.
And snap it does.
Nerves scream.
With a cry to tear the heavens,
he dies.

Even in acute distress,
he lets us know he feels the utter loneliness of dying.
He shares it and so dispels it.
If it is natural to feel fearful at the end,
there can be no ignominy; he is there before us.
The desolation of death is fleeting.
For, as his echoing cry shakes the hills,
we hear a new-forged sound:
a shout of triumph,
strong, defiant,
as from the summit of his mortality he leaps.
We see now why his arms are pinned out-stretched.
They are the pinions of an angel, spread in flight,
ready to soar to heights beyond our mortal reckoning.

Grant us, dear Lord, the privilege of a good death:
Aware, awake,
blessed with the space to manage our departing.
Of rites of passage, the most solitary,
let us gift our death to those living, left behind,
as he bequeathed his mother to his friend,
careful to the last.
Dying is a giving: a giving up, a giving back.
Our spirit is but lent
and, once surrendered, leaves us only for a moment
lonely.