- Good Friday, March 30 , 2018
- 36.074563, -79.795410
- 67° F, 73% humidity
Special Guest Pax
Abigail (Hush Puppy’s 2.0), Lynn Long (RESPECT!), Pastor Morris Brown (RESPECT!), Gabe Neerimeyer, James Wheeler, Helen Phillips (RESPECT!), Carl Phillips (RESPECT!), Caroline Tucker, André Lash (RESPECT!), Sherry Lash (RESPECT!), Mateo Mostek, Pastor Frank Dew (RESPECT!), Nick (guest of Yeti), Chad (guest of Yeti)
Pastor Frank Dew & Tommy Boy
What began with a simple conversation last spring with Thumbs-Up (a visiting #HIM from Lexington, SC) turned into Natville’s inaugural Cross Ruck event. Hosted by the Pax of F3 and open to all. The goal of the Cross Ruck was to seek an understanding of how the life & teachings of Jesus can inspire community leadership and brotherhood over 2000 years later. Better said; how can we disrupt the status quo, live #IAMThird and lead a High Impact Life?
In typical F3 fashion, 5 brothers of the #gloom were present at 0425. By 0427, 63 other attendees had rolled in. And so, at 0430, the newly formed Pax was called to something resembling “order” for an overview of the mission of F3, the importance of all three Fs and some general housekeeping. #SafetyFirst
Then the following was shared:
“No matter where you stand on the religious spectrum, Jesus is a fascinating man whose words and actions transcend time, who personified a grace-filled life and whose death is what brings us here this morning.
Take a moment. Think about our community. What is great about it that you feel called to preserve? What is broken about it that you feel called to fix? What’s stopping you? Is it lack of resources? Lack of education? Is it fear? Pain? Self-doubt or loathing? Hold that thing in your mind as we journey together. Allow yourself to carry that burden openly and amongst these people.”
Before we launched, Frank centered our hearts & minds with a moment of silence and then the opportunity to shoulder even more “burden” was offered up. #Tclaps to Smokey, a 35lb. & 50lb. sandbag were made available along with a #BattleRope looped for carrying.
What follows contains logistics of our stops as well as inspiration for the messaging delivery.
Finally, the Cross Ruck itself was designed to be experienced. And so a proper retelling is far beyond the grasp or ability of YHC.
4:35AM – Ruck 1 mile to the Garden at the Greensboro Historical Museum
- North on Edgeworth > R on Smith > R on Elm > L on E Lindsay
- Squats x 39
- Frank’s Reflections: Jesus being abandoned in the Garden of Gethsemane > impact that stress has on our bodies (being abandoned by your core group)
- Health of Jesus: The rigors of Jesus’ ministry (that is, traveling by foot throughout Palestine) would have precluded any major physical illness or a weak general constitution. Accordingly, it is reasonable to assume that Jesus was in good physical condition before his walk to Gethsemane. However, during the 12 hours between 9 PM Thursday and 9 AM Friday, he had suffered great emotional stress (as evidenced by hematidrosis), abandonment by his closest friends (the disciples), and a physical beating (after the first trial before the religious authorities). Also, in the setting of a traumatic and sleepless night, he had been forced to walk more than 2.5 miles (4.0 km) to and from the sites of the various trials. These physical and emotional factors may have rendered Jesus particularly vulnerable to the adverse hemodynamic effects of the scourging.
5 AM – Ruck ¾ mile to Train Depot
- South on N. Church St. > West through LeBauer Park & Center City Park > L on Elm > L on Washington > stop at Lot across from Depot
- Dips x 39
- Frank’s Reflections: Jesus is always found going to the Fringe of society (homeless, widow, orphan, immigrant). Why do we set limits on who are neighbors are, how we serve them and how much love is enough?
- At nearby Gethsemane, Jesus, apparently knowing that the time of his death was near, suffered great mental anguish, and, as described by the physician Luke, his sweat became like blood. Although this is a very rare phenomenon, bloody sweat (hematidrosis or hemohidrosis) may occur in highly emotional states or in persons with bleeding disorders. As a result of hemorrhage into the sweat glands, the skin becomes fragile and tender. Luke’s description supports the diagnosis of hematidrosis rather than eccrine chromidrosis (brown or yellow-green sweat) or stigmatization (blood oozing from the palms or elsewhere). Although some authors have suggested that hematidrosis produced hypovolemia, we agree with Bucklin that Jesus’ actual blood loss probably was minimal. However, in the cold night air, it may have produced chills.
5:25 AM – Ruck 1 mile to the Courthouse Plaza
- N on Church > L on Market > L on Eugene > climb the steps and proceed east through the plaza. At this point, what felt like 1000 crows erupted from the Magnolia trees in the Plaza. A nice touch for what was to follow…
- Merkins x 39
- Frank’s Reflection: The trail of Jesus and the sheer overpopulation of our prison systems today here in the home of the free. And then a deep dive into the flogging of Jesus… although not recorded in the Bible, it is believe that the scourge fell across his back 39 times (to avoid a miscounting that would exceed the limit of 40 lashes set by Jewish Law). What do we believe in so deeply that we would suffer for it?
- Scourging Practices: Flogging was a legal preliminary to every Roman execution,and only women and Roman senators or soldiers (except in cases of desertion) were exempt. The usual instrument was a short whip (flagellum or flagellum) with several single or braided leather thongs of variable lengths, in which small iron balls or sharp pieces of sheep bones were tied at intervals. Occasionally, staves also were used. For scourging, the man was stripped of his clothing, and his hands were tied to an upright post. The back, buttocks, and legs were flogged either by two soldiers (lictors) or by one who alternated positions. The severity of the scourging depended on the disposition of the lictors and was intended to weaken the victim to a state just short of collapse or death. After the scourging, the soldiers often taunted their victim.
- Medical Aspects of Scourging: As the Roman soldiers repeatedly struck the victim’s back with full force, the iron balls would cause deep contusions, and the leather thongs and sheep bones would cut into the skin and subcutaneous tissues.7 Then, as the flogging continued, the lacerations would tear into the underlying skeletal muscles and produce quivering ribbons of bleeding flesh. Pain and blood loss generally set the stage for circulatory shock. The extent of blood loss may well have determined how long the victim would survive on the cross.
- Scourging of Jesus: At the Praetorium, Jesus was severely whipped. (Although the severity of the scourging is not discussed in the four gospel accounts, it is implied in one of the epistles [1 Peter 2:24]. A detailed word study of the ancient Greek text for this verse indicates that the scourging of Jesus was particularly harsh.) It is not known whether the number of lashes was limited to 39, in accordance with Jewish law. The Roman soldiers, amused that this weakened man had claimed to be a king, began to mock him by placing a robe on his shoulders, a crown of thorns on his head, and a wooden staff as a scepter in his right hand. Next, they spat on Jesus and struck him on the head with the wooden staff. Moreover, when the soldiers tore the robe from Jesus’ back, they probably reopened the scourging wounds. The severe scourging, with its intense pain and appreciable blood loss, most probably left Jesus in a preshock state.
- Moreover, hematidrosis had rendered his skin particularly tender. The physical and mental abuse meted out by the Jews and the Romans, as well as the lack of food, water, and sleep, also contributed to his generally weakened state. Therefore, even before the actual crucifixion, Jesus’ physical condition was at least serious and possibly critical.
5:45 AM – Ruck 1/3 mile to Bellemeade Deck
- North on Greene > R on Bellemeade
- Brief Water Break @ Charles Aris HQ
- Pax formed 3 Groups (#Tclaps to Hoser, See Thru & Hoosier for leading) & 3 Crosses (225 pounds each)
- Each team shouldered the burden up Ruck up the spiral of the Bellemeade Parking Deck. #HeAintHeavy
- Frank’s Reflection (part 1): What is holding you back? Can you let it go?
- Pax were invited to write down their burden and then nail it to the cross. This was done in silence… until Defib stepped up to gift all within earshot with his a cappella rendition of, “How Deep The Father’s Love For Us”. Truly inspirational.
- Frank’s Reflection (part 2): When do we know that the night becomes the dawn? When our inner light is bright enough to see the face of God in our neighbor. That’s when.
- What comes up, must come down… Teams reformed to return the crosses to #TerraFirma
Medical Aspects of Crucifixion: With knowledge of both anatomy and ancient crucifixion practices, one may reconstruct the probable medical aspects of this form of slow execution. Each wound apparently was intended to produce intense agony, and the contributing causes of death were numerous. The scourging prior to crucifixion served to weaken the condemned man and, if blood loss was considerable, to produce orthostatic hypotension and even hypovolemic shock. When the victim was thrown to the ground on his back, in preparation for transfixion of the hands, his scourging wounds most likely would become torn open again and contaminated with dirt. Furthermore, with each respiration, the painful scourging wounds would be scraped against the rough wood of the stipes. As a result, blood loss from the back probably would continue throughout the crucifixion ordeal. With arms outstretched but not taut, the wrists were nailed to the patibulum. It has been shown that the ligaments and bones of the wrist can support the weight of a body hanging from them, but the palms cannot. Accordingly, the iron spikes probably were driven between the radius and the carpals or between the two rows of carpal bones, either proximal to or through the strong band-like flexor retinaculum and the various intercarpal ligaments. Although a nail in either location in the wrist might pass between the bony elements and thereby produce no fractures, the likelihood of painful periosteal injury would seem great. Furthermore, the driven nail would crush or sever the rather large sensorimotor median nerve. The stimulated nerve would produce excruciating bolts of fiery pain in both arms. Although the severed median nerve would result in paralysis of a portion of the hand, ischemic contractures and impalement of various ligaments by the iron spike might produce a clawlike grasp. Most commonly, the feet were fixed to the front of the stipes by means of an iron spike driven through the first or second intermetatarsal space, just distal to the tarsommedial and lateral plantar nerves would have been injured by the nails. Although scourging may have resulted in considerable blood loss, crucifixion per se was a relatively bloodless procedure, since no major arteries, other than perhaps the deep plantar arch, pass through the favored anatomic sites of transfixion. The major pathophysiologic effect of crucifixion, beyond the excruciating pain, was a marked interference with normal respiration, particularly exhalation. The weight of the body, pulling down on the outstretched arms and shoulders, would tend to fix the intercostal muscles in an inhalation state and thereby hinder passive exhalation. Accordingly, exhalation was primarily diaphragmatic, and breathing was shallow. It is likely that this form of respiration would not suffice and that hypercarbia would soon result. The onset of muscle cramps or tetanic contractions, due to fatigue and hypercarbia, would hinder respiration even further. Adequate exhalation required lifting the body by pushing up on the feet and by flexing the elbows and adducting the shoulders. However, this maneuver would place the entire weight of the body on the tarsals and would produce searing pain. Furthermore, flexion of the elbows would cause rotation of the wrists about the iron nails and cause fiery pain along the damaged median nerves. Lifting of the body would also painfully scrape the scourged back against the rough wooden stipes. Muscle cramps and paresthesias of the outstretched and uplifted arms would add to the discomfort. As a result, each respiratory effort would become agonizing and tiring and lead eventually to asphyxia. The actual cause of death by crucifixion was multifactorial and varied somewhat with each case, but the two most prominent causes probably were hypovolemic shock and exhaustion asphyxia. Other possible contributing factors included dehydration, stress-induced arrhythmias, and congestive heart failure with the rapid accumulation of pericardial and perhaps pleural effusions. Crucifracture (breaking the legs below the knees), if performed, led to an asphyxic death within minutes. Death by crucifixion was, in every sense of the word, excruciating (Latin, excruciatus, or “out of the cross”) etatarsal joint.
• Crucifixion of Jesus: After the scourging and the mocking, at about 9 AM, the Roman soldiers put Jesus’ clothes back on him and then led him and two thieves to be crucified. Jesus apparently was so weakened by the severe flogging that he could not carry the patibulum from the Praetorium to the site of crucifixion one third of a mile (600 to650 m) away. Simon of Cyrene was summoned to carry Christ’s cross, and the processional then made its way to Golgotha (or Calvary), an established crucifixion site. Here, Jesus’ clothes, except for a linen loincloth, again were removed, thereby probably reopening the scourging wounds. He then was offered a drink of wine mixed with myrrh (gall) but, after tasting it, refused the drink. Finally, Jesus and the two thieves were crucified. Although scriptural references are made to nails in the hands, these are not at odds with the archaeological evidence of wrist wounds, since the ancients customarily considered the wrist to be a part of the hand. The titulus was attached above Jesus’ head. It is unclear whether Jesus was crucified on the Tau cross or the Latin cross; archaeological findings favor the former and early tradition the latter. The fact that Jesus later was offered a drink of wine vinegar from a sponge placed on the stalk of the hyssop plant (approximately 20 in, or 50 cm, long) strongly supports the belief that Jesus was crucified on the short cross. The soldiers and the civilian crowd taunted Jesus throughout the crucifixion ordeal, and the soldiers cast lots for his clothing. Christ spoke seven times from the cross. Since speech occurs during exhalation, these short, terse utterances must have been particularly difficult and painful. At about 3 PM that Friday, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, bowed his head, and died. The Roman soldiers and onlookers recognized his moment of death. Since the Jews did not want the bodies to remain on the crosses after sunset, the beginning of the Sabbath, they asked Pontius Pilate to order crucifracture to hasten the deaths of the three crucified men. The soldiers broke the legs of the two thieves, but when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Rather, one of the soldiers pierced his side, probably with an infantry spear, and produced a sudden flow of blood and water. Later that day, Jesus’ body was taken down from the cross and placed in a tomb.
6:10 AM – Ruck .5 miles back to Grace United Methodist Church
- S on Greene St. > R on Friendly > R into GUMC’s parking lot
6:20 AM – Circle of Trust (sendoff)
- Rather than curse the darkness, give up and accept mediocrity… #LightTheCandle
- Frank took us out with a reminder to go forth and be the light in our community
Today was a labor of love that we hope will continue each year. And, an event designed to challenge and remind each of us that we have so much to give to the world. Thank you to all that could be a part of the journey to the cross. YHC’s hope is that you found what you were looking for… and so much more.
Grace & Peace,
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