Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (BCP 220)
Mark 15:25-27 (The Message)
They nailed him up at nine o’clock in the morning. The charge against him—THE KING OF THE JEWS—was printed on a poster. Along with him, they crucified two criminals, one to his right, the other to his left.
“Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world”—there he hangs, between two thieves, nailed up at nine in the morning. The only charge laid against him is his very identity—emblazoned there for all to see, “The King of the Jews.” Behold him there; he dies for us.
“Brother Hill was then speaking from this passage of Scripture—Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world. He spoke feelingly of his sufferings upon the cross—of the precious blood that flowed like a purifying river from his side—of his sustaining the accumulated weight of the sins of the whole world and dying to satisfy the demands of that justice which could only be appeased by an infinite atonement. I felt convinced that Christ died for all mankind—that age, sect, color, country, or situation made no difference. I felt an assurance that I was included in the plan of redemption with all my brethren. No one can conceive with what joy I hailed this “new” doctrine, as it was called. It removed every excuse, and I freely believed that all I had to do was to look in faith upon the Lamb of God that made himself a free-will offering for my unregenerate and wicked soul upon the cross. My spirits were depressed—my crimes were arrayed before me, and no tongue can tell the anguish I felt.
— William Apess (1798-?), A Son of the Forest ch. 3