ARTIST STATEMENT FOR EACH STATION OF THE CROSS
STATION I — Jesus Prays in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt 26:36-42)
There was a time in my life when I left everything in search of God. Nothing seemed worthwhile until I found more of Him. It led me down a path that became very dangerous. Finally coming to a point where crying out to God to either take me home with Him or get me out of the mess I was in, were my only options. I could not have foreseen the outcome at the time, but the majesty of God showed up in my life and has never left. That was my Gethsemane of feeling desperate, betrayed and alone … and then He saved me.
When we are desperate for God, drinking the cup of Gethsemane is our trial, but also our future destiny. While others lay sleeping, our life blood seems draining away. For Jesus, the fulfillment of every prophecy was about to be realized in this moment. Even so, our Savior had to ask “Father, is there any other way’?”
The cup is gold because of the many promises.
The flower is Hibiscus that can undergo great stress and seem dead, then suddenly it recovers to bloom again.
If you are experiencing a Gethsemane of sorts, be brave dear one. Hold on and rejoice in every day until your “and suddenly” comes.
– 20 x 16” mixed media on canvas by Susan Capps
STATION II — Jesus Before Pilate (Matt 27:22-26a)
Of all the players in the Passion story, I’ve always felt the most affinity for Pilate. Here was a good governor who believed in the sane and logical rule of law, a missionary of sorts to an unruly and unfamiliar culture.
Jesus goes all mysterious, speaking of other-worldly kingdoms and “truth.” He won’t defend himself. The mob, incited by the Chief Priests, chooses freedom for Barabbas and not the Man who was their greatest hope only a week ago. “Crucify Him!” is their only response.
So when Pilate saw that he prevailed nothing, but rather that a tumult was arising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying “I am innocent of the blood of this righteous man. See ye to it.” And all the people answered and said “His blood be on us and on our children!” — Matt 27:24-25
This is the moment I have portrayed from Pilate’s angle: his wet hands expressing “clean” in sign language. Jesus looks up with full awareness of the magnitude of the verdict: God’s verdict. The layers of meaning in the mobs’ words hang in the air.
In the Gospel of John, Pilate brings Jesus back to the crowd a third time: flogged and bleeding, crowned and robed. “Behold, I bring him out to you, that you may know I find no crime in him.” Pilate’s appeal is rejected twice more. The mob has him at last.
– 20 x 16” oil on board by Lynda Rimke
STATION III — Jesus is Mocked (Matt 27:26b-30)
My four preliminary drawings of Station III, where Jesus is mocked by the Roman soldiers immediately after His flogging, were classic information overload of the worst sort. My best pen and ink sketches projected only a poor, comic, “Chick tract” effect that cheapened Jesus’ suffering. NOT what I was after!
But my research had drawn me to the Shroud of Turin. In particular, a golden, burning hologram image of the flogged back side of the mysterious “Man of Pain” would not leave my mind. Simply layering the elements of humiliation over the shroud image created a more accurate depiction and emotive experience for me.
In the gospel accounts, a similar crown was pounded onto Jesus’ head with a staff, after the flogging. There is no record that this crown was removed. It may not have been possible.
Matthew records a red robe, which could have simply been a Roman soldier’s cape. Red gives a better impression of the burning pain the robe must have caused.
In the Gospel of John, Pilate presents the flogged and bleeding, robed and crowned Messiah before the people a third and final time. They continue to shout “Crucify Him!” The soldiers remove the robe and put his original clothes back on Him and lead Him away to be crucified His seamless tunic would have been ruthlessly pulled over His thorn-crowned head.
crown and thorn images:
lacerated back images:
– 14 x 10” digital photo montage by Lynda Rimke
STATION IV — Jesus Carries the Cross (John 19:17)
Loneliness. Shame. Pain. Rejection. Burden. These words are what come to mind when I envision Jesus carrying the cross.
I can only imagine the abandonment and humiliation Jesus felt as people on each side of His path watched His struggle, with each step leading to His death. I am sure there were some who felt sorrow, but they were outnumbered by those who despised Him outright, rejecting Him with the gesture of hands out and heads turned away.
The pain was Jesus’ burden to bear, and His alone. Jesus, the only perfect man ever born, was in the center of all those who were sinful, being watched by them as He carried all of their blame.
This sacrifice, by which He would save humanity despite their guilt, reflects His purity and love, portrayed by a white cloth gently cradling a red rose bound to the cross.
Roses represent love, but soaked in the color of His blood as a foretelling of the blood that would be shed for us upon His death.
I cannot help but see darkness enveloping Him, as Satan was preparing to take the Light of the world.
— 15.5 x 10.5” digital photograph by Samantha Solan
STATION V — Simon Of Cyrene (Luke 23:26)
As I studied and worked on this piece, I found myself wrestling with two questions that I think dwell at the heart of Luke’s story about Simon—the man who followed behind Jesus and carried the cross along the way of sorrows: 1) What is the cost of discipleship? and 2) Am I willing to pay that price?
I was talking to a friend about this particular station and he said that carrying the cross is really about learning to give up our rights. That comment stuck with me as the layers of this painting were emerging. What did it mean to give up my rights—my privilege, my comfort, my will—in order to follow Jesus?
I was also influenced by Henri Nouwen’s view that walking behind Jesus is a downward movement—that leads us away from the upward search for power, status, and wealth and towards the downward search for humility, sacrifice, and obedience. Nouwen’s idea draws me back into Simon’s story, because it forces me to examine myself to see if I am really doing everything I can to be like Simon—following Jesus down the long and often difficult road that cross bearers must take.
— 20 x 16” mixed media on canvas by Jason Miller
STATION VI - Jesus is Crucified (Luke 23:33-38)
I consider myself an abstract expressionist painter. Since this painting is not like most depictions of Jesus’ crucifixion which tend to be literal representations of Jesus’ body being nailed to a cross, a few things might help you find meaning in this station.
• Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you as you search for Christ in this station.
• Move back and forth between reading the Scripture passage and looking at the artwork.
• Try to interact with this painting emotionally rather than literally.
The cross was a slow, humiliating, painful way to die—an execution reserved for criminals. As I went through the struggle-filled process of creating the painting you see here today, I kept wondering how the God of Creation could suffer the horrors of the cross for my transgressions.
Jesus was innocent and yet chose to be punished alongside the condemned. He was mockingly called a “King” and taunted to save Himself. And yet, He obeyed His Father and drank the agonizing cup of death—revealing His identity as the true Chosen King who lowered Himself and offered His blood for the sins of the world. Jesus have mercy on us.
– 20 x 16” mixed media on canvas by Jason Miller
STATION VII — The Repentant Thief (Luke 23:39-43)
I’m not sure what my 1978 college drawing assignment was, but I chose to render the scene with this thief. My gifted instructor had drawn more than one Crucifixion at a time when Kent State students and professors were recovering from the May 4, 1970 shootings.
My youthful Crucifixion contribution was a whisper. Most of my drawings were back then.
In the process of drawing Jesus and the repentant thief from my head, the face of the young thief became my own.
“Lord, remember me when You enter Your kingdom.”
— 12 x 10” graphite on paper by Lynda Sharp (Rimke)
STATION VIII — Mary and John Below the Cross (John 19:25-27)
“Lord, why did You give Your Mother to John(at the cross)?”
“My Mother was holy from the start, but still a woman in a society that did not always honor women. I was first-born son, traditionally to care for My Mother without husband—a widow. To John, My most beloved friend, first-born of a spiritual awakening—a movement to change the world, I entrusted My most precious Mother, the symbol of ultimate surrender and trust in God for her life. John could understand the honor of this woman. He would now provide for her, but she will change his atmosphere. The Gifts.”
— 20 x 16” mixed media on canvas by Susan Capps
STATION IX – Jesus Dies (Luke 23:44-49)
a friend so dear and so close.
a shared heart and mindset.
when betrayal is uncovered the heartbreak is so painful, emotionally, that it becomes physical.
and all of nature weeps with you as you shatter from the inside out.
an abandonment so deep, a heartbreak so real that even the trees cry out.
— 20 x 16” mixed media on canvas by Abby Capps
STATION X — Jesus is Buried (Matt 27:57-66)
The mystery of Jesus’ incarnation has always fascinated and challenged me. The God of Creation—who is fully divine—chose to lower Himself and become fully human just like us.
Jesus Christ, God’s own Son—sent to us, so He could be slaughtered for us. That’s how God orchestrated our salvation. If we were going to survive beyond the death our sins deserved, then the Righteous One had to be executed for the crimes that we committed. What kind of love would it take to make that sacrifice?
I tried to imagine what it would be like to cry alongside the women who saw the King of the World die. To see all my hopes crushed and thrown away…like trash. Death is so real. Death is so ordinary. Death is so final. And yet, death is not the end.
Jesus rose again, and God’s infiniteness overcame the finality of death. I am saved. I just don’t want to forget the cost that God paid to save my life.
Thanks to my friend Tim Meier who helped me wrestle with Jesus’ death and created the beautiful poem for this station.
— 20 x 16 ” digital illustration by Jason Miller