Voices from the Foot of the Cross
This servant girl comes up to me “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she says That must be when I first began to lose it I didn’t stop to think then I Just fired back, I said l don’t know what you’re talking about,” All the same I moved back a bit, but they were onto me muttering away – I could see they didn’t believe me it was like they were calling me a liar because this other girl she shouts out so that everyone can hear “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.” I said “l don’t know the man! ” I might have sworn a bit as well to make them believe me why did they not believe me? – I don’t look like a liar After a bit they all started and I knew I’d said too much because they said “Surely you are one of them, your accent gives you away.” I almost completely lost it then, but I was too furious to notice I must have said every word under the sun to convince them “l don’t know the man! ” Then, immediately after I’d said it, a rooster crowed.
Then I knew I’d lost it. Jesus, what happens next? O always seemed to know what would happen next I thought when they flogged you, that would be the end how many men, strong men at that, can survive a Roman flogging? I thought that would be the end you, whipped to death. Vive seen your back, from a distance Vive seen what those Jagged bones in the whip did to your back eating away at you tearing the muscle from your bones
These Romans are animals lust Survived for what, because now it’s worse what could be worse than a Roman flogging – only a Roman cross These Romans are animals Do you know about me? Do you know you were right all along ? About me deserting you, about me denying you I am Simon – Vive lost Peter Vive lost it Vive lost the person I was with you and now I’m losing you. 3. Jesus is mocked by the soldiers Met 27. 7-31 Monologue: a soldier I’m one of those soldiers I had the afternoon off so I came along I’ll keep my name to myself I wish I hadn’t come not now that I can see him I mean, by the time we got our hands on him this morning here wasn’t much left of him there never is much left after a flogging and he was a trouble maker … So they said the same as all those neuters from Galilee all the hotheads come from there, causing trouble, disturbing the people, like these people need much to get them going especially this week It’s one of their festivals Passover they call it And we’re all on edge in the garrison because things get a bit crazy at Passover it’s all something about them being set free from slavery I don’t know – sometime way back in the past something about Egypt – but it’s important to them they all ago bit crazy
And so all the lads are on edge we’re on the look out for them the neuters – any rabble raisers hit the leaders hard – that shuts the rest up all the lads had got a bit crazy They started it, the others, not me I wasn’t going to Join in but once everyone was at him I couldn’t be left out that’s asking for trouble and anyway troublemakers get what’s coming to them he knew what he was doing last week when he rode that donkey into town he knew what was coming to him text book example bloke rides in on a donkey people wave palm branches they go nuts and say the king has arrived and there’s trouble for everyone then e don’t need another of their ‘kings’ it’s Just he didn’t look like trouble and even less so when they had dressed him up as a king someone got this scarlet robe I mean there’s no harm in having a laugh and he was asking for it anyway they put this scarlet robe on him and this crown of thorns – now that was nasty – those thorns are sharp the bloke who put it on his head reckons he came off worse all his hands were spiked and bleeding he’s a vicious one – he rammed it down on the prisoner’s head no, that was nasty I didn’t start the nasty stuff but the nastier it got the more he looked at us not angry just sad I wish he’d been angry I wish he’d cursed us but he Just looked at us, sad and frightened I wish I hadn’t done it I wish I could start today again but it was either that or set him free I had to do something – so I took the stick I snatched the stick the one they gave him as a staff to go with the crown he wouldn’t stop looking at me I had no choice it was too late by then the others had filled me with – like with this poison it was hit him or free him I couldn’t have done anything else it was like a madness blow after blow all about his head and there wasn’t much of him in the first place
Jesus, I can’t look at you now even though they’ve now done worse to you but I can’t stop looking at you because you’re looking at them now like you looked at me no revenge no hatred just sadness sadness not sadness for yourself, but for them and sadness for me as if I’m the one who deserves pity like I’m the one in real trouble 4. Jesus crucified Met 27. 32-37 Monologue: John adapted from Stages on the Way WAR IANA Community peg 1 50 I am John. But I am ashamed to say I have been keeping my distance today. Things will get a bit too hot for me if I am seen by the Romans. Jesus kept on telling us, the other disciples ND myself about him suffering and dying. I did listen but I Just never thought it would happen and then when it started, it all happened so quickly. I cannot remember what I was doing or feeling, it is all a blur.
I wanted to do one last thing for him but when I was needed I was not there. I would have carried his cross all the way to Goliath if that would have spared him any pain but I was hiding, at the back of the crowd. Instead they got a total stranger to do it: Simon from Serene. He said he would not have been in Jerusalem today if it had not been for business. The Romans Just ribbed him, a complete stranger, out the crowd and made him carry Jesus’ cross. He reckoned they asked him because his color makes him stand out and what can a black man say in a crowd of white people? So he carried the cross all the way here. Hadn’t got a clue why or what was going on.
He watched with me for a while and he couldn’t understand. He kept on asking me: What was it all about? Why were they doing this to Jesus? What had he done to merit such degrading cruelty? What sort of crime deserves the cross? I did not have any answers for him. We watched together in silence as they nailed Jesus to the cross. We flinched each time the hammer fell, driving the nails deeper and deeper into Jesus’ hands with each strike. I willed the hammer to miss but it hit home every time, twisting and tearing his hands, hands that had brought so much care to others. Simon from Serene kept on asking me “What could he have done to deserve this? ” Once again I had no answer for him.
After they had nailed him to the cross, hands and feet, they lifted it up high. Some people actually cheered. Can you believe it? They cheered! The cross thumped into place and I saw the agony on his face. Simon and I watched speechless. We were strangers to each other, I had known Jesus for ages and Simon had only Just met him but we were both dumb struck with the horror of it all. Now I stand here watching you slowly die Jesus, I remember you told us you would suffer and die. I didn’t take it in then and I don’t understand it now. I want to do something to help you; anything and watch helpless. The last person to help you was a complete stranger. Jesus, I so want to help you, but I can’t. 5.
Jesus is mocked again Met 27. 38-44 Monologue: The anonymous woman who anointed Jesus I’m here and trying to think what to do for him. Something always occurs to me. I’m never normally at a loss for what to do. Don’t bother with my name – you’ll only forget it everyone else does. Vive always got something to say for myself – I have to It’s the only way anyone would ever notice me. All those blokes who used to hang round, lording it over us, because they were his elite, his disciples – they were always noticed, we all know their names I Just don’t notice them now – they’ve all run off into hiding. Well there’s the advantage of being unremarkable no one notices me here now.
Me, in a crowd of fools but I am not part of it. They pour out their cruel words, their cheap insults, they let all their scorn run over him – but I’ll have no part in that. I have no words and I can do nothing. Standing here looking at Jesus I am speechless just like the last time I saw him only a few days ago. I was in the house of Simon the Leper and he was there too and now I think of it he looked sad then he looked like a man with a lot on his mind, like he was carrying a great weight… I don’t know what came over me- I really don’t I Just knew what I had to do It felt like the most obvious thing, but I couldn’t have explained why. I had this Jar of perfume, not any old perfume,