“The courageous women who weep … ” –John 18:1—19:42.
“On Good Friday, so much focus is rightfully on Jesus’ suffering on the cross. But let’s look down below him and see the courageous women of John’s story. In memory of them, let us pray for women who today will weep for their children, refusing to be comforted. And let us hold in prayer the women in today’s Golgothas who, in the face of horrible suffering, somehow find the strength to hold each other up.” —Eileen D. Crowley, “Sunday’s Coming” in The Christian Century (4/11/2017).
In Arkansas starting on Easter Monday in 2017 there were eleven executions planned because one of the drugs being used had an expiration date at the end of that month. There had not been an execution for twelve years. I remember that earlier execution well because I was a deacon at our cathedral then, which is close to the governor’s mansion. We had an ecumenical prayer service for the person to be executed and the person he had killed. I know I played the harp at the service, probably the African American spiritual, “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child.” We then went to the governor’s mansion and sang and prayed by candlelight until after the execution.
All of the men on death row last year had killed young women. I wonder what these girls now in eternal life are praying for and if they are lighting candles. Some of the stories about the men reveal that they had awful lives with a lack of love from women like the ones who followed Jesus. My prayers today are of course that governors all over our country will stay executions and that eventually this state would abolish the death penalty.
My third prayer is that we will do our best to raise strong and loving women like the ones at the cross with Jesus, so that their children will know love and not violence against others, especially against women.
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