"When I took up the cross,
I recognized its meaning....
The cross is something that you bear,
and ultimately that you die on."
- Martin Luther King, Jr., Frogmore, South Carolina, May 22,1967
At a recent Editorial
Committee meeting, editor Stan Burriss spoke of gentrification happening "neighborhood by
neighborhood, block by block, bum by bum." Seattle's gentrification obscures but does not
relieve pockets of poverty and misery - under viaducts, in alleys and doorways, everywhere.
Only because it is our personal faith tradition, we began to meditate on the parallels between the plight of poor, homeless and forgotten people and the traditional Christian Stations of the Cross - the last road of suffering for Jesus Christ. Throughout Christian history, these Stations have been used to symbolize the human trail of tears, the path we all follow to death, the mysteries of suffering and dying.
We looked around at Seattle's spiritual geography, and selected some of the places that, together, tell the present-day story of oppression and neglect.
The Stations of the Cross are Christian symbols -- the last suffering and death of Jesus -- but the concepts they symbolize are universal. We all have to confront the reality of suffering and death, and find our own meaning in it. Choosing to suffer for a cause, or for the well-being of others, is not limited to one religion. Examples of injustice and oppression can be found in every age, as long as human beings remain imperfect. And human beings will confront them and call for change, as long as the human desire for good is still alive.