As you meditate on the second station, and especially on that piece of wood that Jesus carries, consider this apocryphal story from The Golden Legend, a collection of holy stories from the middle ages, and one particular story, “The Legend of the True Cross.”
Once upon a time, close to the beginning of time in fact, when Adam was about to die, he sent his son Seth back to the entrance gates of the Garden of Eden to search for a cure, a last chance at longer life. Seth did as his father, Adam, told him, but when Seth arrived at the gates to the garden the Archangel Michael was standing in the way, guarding the entrance with a flaming sword. Michael, not completely unsympathetic to Adam’s plight, gave Seth seeds from the tree under which Adam and Eve had first sinned and ate the forbidden fruit, the Tree of Life. Michael told Seth to take the seeds, plant them, and when they bore fruit, Adam would be healthy once more. Seth took the seeds and rushed back to his sickly father only to find that Adam had already died. At his father’s burial Seth leaned over Adam’s body and placed the seeds he received into Adam’s mouth. Adam’s body was buried, seeds and all. On that exact spot, a tree grew. The tree grew mighty and strong, and yet a funny thing happened. No matter how large it grew it never sprouted a single leaf or fruit. And there it stood until the age of the wise King Solomon. Solomon saw this mighty tree one day and decided to cut the tree down to use for wood to build his lavish new palace. But the lumber from the tree didn’t fit. It was either too short or too long and did not fit into any place within the palace. Not wanting to waste the wood Solomon put it across a stream to act as a bridge. One day the Queen of Sheba visited King Solomon. But when she came across the bridge and that piece of tree she would not cross it. She had a vision of the importance this tree would one day have and therefore walked around rather than over it. The queen arrived to the palace and told King Solomon her inspired prophecy about a far off king and divinely important tree. Fearing its power Solomon had the tree taken up and tossed into the woods to be forgotten. And it was. Many years passed. 1000 years and the wood was finally discovered again floating in a pond that had sprung up beneath it. The wood was gathered and eventually found its way onto the back of a carpenter from Galilee who had been sentenced to death that day by crucifixion.
The last line of the “Legend of the True Cross” goes a little something like this: “It is only as the cross of Christ that the Archangel Michael’s words, spoken all those years ago, finally came true. The tree, which for millennia stood bare, finally bore fruit.”
While this story is undoubtedly a fabrication, a holy myth, the moral of the story as it applies to Jesus’ crucifixion is true. This piece of wood has not only cured Adam, but it has also brought life back to the whole world.
Peace in Christ,
Pr. Daniel Joyner Miller