Holy Week: Meditation 2

Several years ago at my home church, we developed a very moving Stations of the Cross experience for use on Good Friday. At one of the stations, I read these words from Luke’s gospel (23:28):

Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.

I thought, “Even as he is walking toward his crucifixion, Jesus isn’t asking us to weep for him. He is concerned for others … for women, for children, who will soon be threatened by a flood of violence.” Then the natural question presented itself: “For whom would Jesus have us weep today?”
That’s a question I’d encourage you to consider this holy week. If Jesus identifies himself with the last, the lost, and the least … with the sick, the prisoners, the homeless, the naked … for whom should we be weeping this week, not instead of weeping for him, but because of our love for him, and because of our desire to join with him in compassion?
That Good Friday several years ago, I thought of Darfur … Jesus would have me weep for Darfur, I felt. And now, years later, too little has changed there.

Compassionate God, as we consider the sufferings of your servant Jesus, in whose face we see your glory and love, our hearts are moved in compassion. As we weep for him and his sufferings, we also weep for those who suffer in our world today. Especially for … the people of Darfur. The world has seen their suffering, but it goes on. Presidents have called their suffering genocide. But it goes on. The government that permits and promotes their suffering has been accused of the highest crimes, but their suffering continues. And we have worked and prayed from a distance for change, but change has not yet come. When, Lord?
God of justice and compassion, we unite our hearts in persistent prayer for the people of Darfur. Bring shame and regret upon those who oppress them. Press the oppressors to change their hard hearts and their bitter policies. Move the leaders of other nations to take the bold actions that would add to the pressure for change. Move our President to join others as a courageous leader in this international process. And Lord, please inspire more leaders among the Darfuris who will be responsible heroes of peace, and help each of us as well, to find ways to be instruments of your peace. As participants in your mission to heal the world we pray. Amen.

If you’d like to learn more about the situation in Darfur, in addition to the link above, check out the Save Darfur campaign.