In the Lectionary

April 3, 2015, Good Friday: Isaiah 52:13-53:12; John 18:1-19:42

Several years ago, I wandered through the cathedral in Manila. Making my way down to the crypt, I passed a life-sized crucifix. This painted wooden image from perhaps the 18th or 19th century presents Jesus sagging limply from the cross. His head hangs down, and he looks to be very near the end. You can see how he would be thirsty. Beholding the man of sorrows from Isaiah 53, a person might even be moved to say, “It is finished.”

Everywhere on the wood, the paint is old and cracked—everywhere except the knees. There is no longer any paint there. At first glance, this seemed like just an oddity—perhaps the statue was damaged in storage. I moved on to look at the crypt itself and learn about the people buried there. I was a tourist, and tourists learn about famous people.

Later, making my way back upstairs, I saw a simply dressed Filipina woman approach the crucifix and tenderly, reverently put her hand on Jesus’ knee. She bowed her head and stood there for many moments. Then she left.