The Third Station - Jesus falls the first time.

Photo by David Leeson / Dallas Morning News / Corbis

We gratefully remember and praise you, Jesus,
because your life teaches us how to live as your disciples.

The weight of your cross and the staggering emotional weight of condemnation and sentencing bring you to your knees, Jesus. The spectacle amuses soldiers and onlookers who goad you into resuming your painful journey.

Who will mitigate this overwhelming, awkward burden forced on two cultures? It turns energetic U.S. teenagers into killing machines and leaves Iraqi and Afghan youths determined to oppose a detested occupation force. Both sides fall prey to pervasive fear. Such fear drives them to slaughter each other and leaves survivors marred for life emotionally.
Contrary to the stirring sentiments of the Declaration of Independence, we now pledge "our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor" not to one another for our mutual protection, but to the state, whose actions continue to exploit, despoil, and destroy us. - Butler D. Shaffer