Station 14 – Jesus is laid in the tombPosted: April 6, 2012
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Remember and Forgive
Poles 24.9%, Germans 19.9%, Jews 15.1%, Russians 15.0%, French 7.3%, Gypsies 5.4%, other 12.4%. This is the estimated makeup of the prisoners at the Ravensbruck women’s concentration camp during WWII. The Gestapo categorized the prisoners as follows: political 83.54%, anti-social 12.35%, criminal 2.02%, Jehovah Witnesses 1.11%, “racial defilement” 0.78%, other 0.20%.
Dividing people into categories; fearing our differences; denying our shared humanity; segregating and separating; asserting that some people are categorically better than others—these are practices that lead to suffering and to death.
A woman whose name we do not know wrote a prayer on a slip of wrapping paper that was found at the Ravensbruck concentration camp. (You will find the prayer in this station.) She might have been Jewish and wearing a yellow Star of David to mark her identity. Or she might have been a lesbian and therefore wearing a pink triangle instead of a yellow star, or a black triangle to indicate an “anti-social” identity. In addition to LGBT persons, black triangles were also worn by prostitutes, Roma people or “Gypsies,” and women who refused to marry. She might have worn a red triangle if she was a political prisoner, or a green one if she was considered a “criminal.” Jehovah’s Witnesses wore purple triangles.
Who wrote this prayer? How did she forgive? How did her forgiveness save her?
Nearly 2000 years earlier, Jesus, a Jewish teacher, was killed publicly by the Roman empire, just as many more thousands were also executed by crucifixion. How could Jesus pray, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Did he see beyond the identities that separated them? Did he love some part of them that even they could not see?
I ask myself, could I pray the prayer that Jesus prayed? Could I pray the prayer of the anonymous woman at Ravensbruck?
20″ (excluding fabric extension) x 24″
Plaster sculpture on canvas board with acrylic paint
Scripture related to this station is included in the comments of this post.