Good Friday 2020, The Way of the Cross: Fifth Station, Jesus Judged by Pilate

Pilate asked them, ‘Why, what evil has he done?’ But they shouted all the more, ‘Crucify him!’ So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.

Mark 15.14,15

We seldom notice things until they break. You’re walking along, unaware of your feet, stub your toe, and your world focuses on your foot. Working on your computer, it freezes. Now the thing you’re working on needs attention, not your work. We forget the things that hum along in the backdrop until they don’t. Such short interruptions we perceive as inconveniences, but darker moments disrupt time.

With disruption, our assumed connections not only tear at the seams but unravel altogether. Normality gives way to abnormality. Our perception of time becomes malleable. One day bleeds into the next: a dream state. Pilates’ judgment of Jesus begins such a morphing of time from ordinary to abnormal. Until now, the Gospel of Mark had intermittently time-stamped events. From now until Jesus’ death on the cross, such time-markers disappear.

When time becomes elastic, it’s hard to pay attention. Here, the stations of the cross beg us: stop, become aware, see what we uncover when things taken for granted unravels, and moments flow into each other. Let go of time for a moment. Follow Jesus into the timeless thicket: a place with the potential of both unimaginable tragedies and kindnesses. In our dream state, we might even question how we measure time itself, and by proxy, what we value.