Traditionally, the Stations of the Cross refer to images depicting the journey Jesus walked from his condemnation and sentencing at trial to the laying of his body in the tomb. The images are customarily displayed around the sanctuary of a church, and people are encouraged to visit the stations during Lent. At each station there are prayers, reflections, and scripture read. This journey is thought to have been adapted from the practice of very early pilgrims to Jerusalem at Easter who would follow Jesus’ path on the Via Dolorosa, which was thought to be the actual path Jesus took on his way to being crucified. The Stations of the Cross developed in order to provide this experience to pilgrims around the world, no matter where they might be. The fourteen stations begin with Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane and end with his followers laying his body in the tomb.
At Church of the Resurrection, we take a journey around our building together at two different times on Good Friday. An officiant and a musician lead the service. Each station is marked by a plain wooden cross. At each station we read the passage of scripture associated with that moment on Jesus’ journey and take a moment to reflect with song and prayer. Our Stations of the Cross service was designed by Pope John Paul II.
Amidst the intensely corporate pilgrimage of Holy Week, the Stations of the Cross stand out as an opportunity for a uniquely individual encounter with the Lord. With a liturgy of only two voices, no homily, and a multitude of scripture readings, this service is crafted to be a private devotional experience. We are invited into a one-on-one encounter with Jesus as we walk alongside him on the road to his crucifixion.
As we contemplate each action that took place on Jesus’ journey to his death, we are invited to ponder the intentionality with which Jesus embraced his rescue mission. Each station takes Jesus deeper into betrayal, suffering, and death, thereby bringing us closer to the moment of our redemption. This paradox evokes an overwhelming love for our Savior as he suffers and stumbles, and it brings us hope amidst the darkness of human sin.
Join us for Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, 4/19, at 12:30pm or 2pm.
This is Part 3 of our Peek into Holy Week series. In the days leading up to Holy Week, we’re taking time to prepare our hearts and minds so that we will be ready to hear the voice of the Lord. Read the next post about Good Friday here.
Photos from Stations of the Cross
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