3 FALLEN
The gospel stories are remarkably short and sober about the actual way Jesus goes to the place of crucifixion. John for instance says no more than: "And carrying the cross on his back he left for the so called place of skulls, Golgotha in Hebrew." It is hardly possible to be more succinct. The gospels call for the followers of Jesus to follow him along that road. The Christian tradition has interpreted this in various ways, the main interpretation being that, should the occasion arise, a Christian should be prepared to follow Jesus in bearing his or her own cross. It was also understood in the sense that one should empathize with Jesus precisely when he is carrying the crossbeam. That is why the imagination has filled Jesus' way to the place of execution with instances in which links can be made to feelings of empathy. Most strikingly, the way of the cross has no fewer than three stations in which Jesus makes a fall. A fallen man. Why so many falls at all ? Could it be because falling is such a primal human experience that always entails fright and pain? As a toddler or child we all did our share of crying because we got hurt or frightened in a fall . After childhood falling became exceptional, but it also became the more worrying, whether because of a broken leg or hip or - thinking of the recent passing away of a colleague - a fatal fracture of the base of the skull. And I haven't even mentioned the fall of Adam and Eve, which - whether it was an historical fact or not - at least until today has remained recognizable in our genes. So every single human being knows about falling and about the pain and fright usually going with it. On the station of the first fall Jesus does not seem to panic. On the contrary, there seems to be less pain and fright than during the first night in Getsemane. Also the colour scheme and the surface division indicate submission rather than distress.