Reflection on the Fourteenth Station
By The Rev. Charles “Chuck” Wynder, Jr.
Jesus, your body is prepared for burial. Joseph gave you his own tomb. He laid your body there and rolled a large stone in front of it, then went home.
Walking the stations of the cross provides us an opportunity to experience Jesus as the embodiment of the crucified classes of people in the world. If we understand Jesus as a poor Palestinian Jew living every day as a subject of the Roman Empire, we can better relate to those among us whose “backs are against the wall.” It is the disinherited among us who like Jesus bear the burden of the cross. As we come to the 14th Station of the cross, my invitation to you is to envision the crucified people of our times. Who do you see? Is it the two-year-old child who has been separated from her mother, her father, her siblings, and cousins now jailed in a cage at the border? Is it the formerly incarcerated person who no one will hire and is homeless, hungry, and unable to vote? Or, is it the young Black and Brown families that breathe the fumes of the manufacturing plants and the bus terminal intentionally placed on their side of town? Perhaps it is the family who lives in a food desert where the only place to purchase food is the local gas station or convenience store where fruits, vegetables, and meat are not sold.
The 14th station also invites us to mirror Joseph’s response to witnessing the crucified body of Jesus. Joseph takes Jesus’ disowned body and lays it with love in Joseph’s own tomb. He goes beyond himself and turns his back on himself through his loving actions. How can we do the same in our accompaniment of the crucified classes of people in our communities? What will we do individually and in community to embrace the bodies and needs of the disinherited, dispossessed, and disowned? Let us re-remember Joseph’s actions as part of our commitment to repent and live anew in love and compassion.
The Rev. Charles “Chuck” Wynder, Jr. serves as the Officer for Social Justice & Engagement on the Presiding Bishop’s Staff for The Episcopal Church. He works to build capacity for advocacy, embodied witness, and community engagement around social and racial justice in communities throughout the Episcopal Church.
Chuck studied at the Episcopal Divinity School, MDiv ’12. A Truman Scholar, he is a native of Hampton, Virginia and is a graduate of Syracuse University and the University of Michigan Law School. He is married to Bethany Dickerson Wynder. They reside in Washington, D.C. where they are raising their son Charles Allen Wynder, III (Chase).