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Friend in ministry,

My last post was in regards to pursuing rest in our ministry lives and understanding that it is as important– even more important– than our activity. While meditation and prayer are typical ways to pursue rest, sometimes it’s helpful to go outside our typical religious patterns and spiritual disciplines. I want to share with you one way I did this lately.

I discovered the Shrine of Christ’s Passion in St. John, Indiana. It’s a large garden of forty life-size statues depicting the events of the Crucifixion, from passover to the Ascension. As I walked the mile-long path, I found myself becoming part of the story– Christ’s story.

As I inferred in my last post, my work on my book has become ministry as I have become a part of these women’s joys and sorrows in their ministries. It has been my honor to be invited into their stories.

Come along with me as I show you a different way to become part of the Biblical story– through my photos. Christ invites us to become a part of His story. Choose to understand the story differently, perhaps through the perspective of a person who encounters Christ along the way to Calvary.

And, at the end, through the faith and spiritual understanding He awakens in us, we worship in truth and triumph. May these photos invite you into worship today.

P.S. The photos are mine. I’m honored if you want to share them with someone else. Please go right ahead or share this post.

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1. Our rest begins with worship, as shown through the Passover celebration in the upper room, where Christ transformed the Old Testament tradition into a pre-celebration of His sacrifice. Next, Christ prays in the garden.

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2. Despite Pilate’s challenge, Christ doesn’t answer him back. A few words suffice. More were unnecessary.

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3. Christ is surrounded by opposition, but He knows the soldiers are merely carrying out orders. He doesn’t react against them.

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4. Instead, He focuses on those who are suffering along with Him on His way to Golgotha, like His mother and other women who mourn His suffering.

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5. These statues captured Jesus’s humanity and extreme weakness. Simon, full of health and vigor, towered over Christ as he shouldered the cross.

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6. The statues of Christ become lower and lower to the ground as He is humiliated, beaten, wounded for our sins.

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7. One of the final humiliations, and something I had not thought about much before: Jesus is nearly naked as He dies. This strikes a deep chord in me. Clothing is protective; nakedness is revealing and vulnerable.

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8. Christ’s powerlessness in the face of brutality are shown in these two photos of the same statues. And yet, His power, even here, was absolute if He had chosen to use it. He didn’t. He gave it up for us.

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9. I chose to photograph the crucifixion more from the repentant thief’s perspective. Here he reaches out for Christ’s forgiveness and redemption, which Christ readily extends. The thief is me as well: I am forgiven… redeemed… brought into Christ’s family! Even here, despite the sadness, there is victory.

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10. Jesus dies, a monumental act of God choosing to die for me and for you.

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11. Mary’s sacrifice is also complete. She sacrificed her reputation and her old age for her eldest son to fulfill His purpose. Her mourning must have been extreme; and yet, she surely understood there was more to come.

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12. Another Mary was chosen to be the one who greeted Jesus first upon His resurrection. With her, we confidently say, “He is risen! He is risen indeed!”

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13. But the story doesn’t end there. Fortunately, the group putting together the shrine understood it was essential to include the Ascension. Christ doesn’t stay on earth in a body that would be limited to one place and one group of people. Instead, He returns to heaven so the Spirit can indwell all believers in Him. Now, all believers carry a piece of Christ within them.

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