Holy Week Monday

The first three days of this week are preparatory practices for Good Friday: a 3-day, 14-Station “Treasure Hunt” of sorts.

This outline is for use around a family’s home – either inside or out. For a printable version of this outline, go here.

Monday and Tuesday are for creating or finding the focal objects.

Wednesday will be preparing printed materials and/or placing all items at each site.

You can find more information about the Stations of the Cross here and here; and other online Stations of the Cross here.

TONIGHT’S ACTIVITIES

  1. Start with prayer:

Let us pray:

Gracious One, today we need to remember your presence with us in our times of sadness, fear, struggle, fragility, and worry.

We are grateful for this story. Let us handle it with respect, with gratitude, and with joyful hope.

Let your light shine within this house. We are ready to see and to be your light in the shadows.

Empowered by your Spirit, we pray. AMEN

  1. Create!
    1. Read the Excerpt to get acquainted with the theme of each Station.
    2. Create a visual focal point for Friday night’s engagement with each Station, as prompted by each Activity.
    3. Place your creations and finds in a safe place, ready to put in place on Wednesday night.
    4. If you are following the Tissue Paper Theme, I encourage you to rip the tissue paper into strips and use the strips for Station #1 or #3. DO NOT glue these strips to anything: keep them loose ‘cuz we’re going to use them in a Saturday project to make something beautiful for Sunday!!
  2. NOTE: YOU DO NOT NEED TO READ THE ENTIRE BIBLE STORY: THE EXCERPT ILLUSTRATES THE THEME OF EACH STATION. TONIGHT IS ABOUT MAKING A VISUAL PROMPT SO THAT ON FRIDAY NIGHT, WHEN YOU DO READ THE ENTIRE TEXT, ALONG WITH A REFLECTION AND PRAYER, YOU HAVE A FOCAL POINT FOR SILENT PRAYER AT EACH STATION. 

The First Station Matthew 26:36-46

Jesus Is at Prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane

Excerpt

36-38 Then Jesus went with them to a garden called Gethsemane and told his disciples, “Stay here while I go over there and pray.” Taking along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he plunged into an agonizing sorrow. Then [Jesus] said, “This sorrow is crushing my life out. Stay here and keep vigil with me.” (MSG)

Activity

  • Locate a spot in or around your home for the first station.
  • Jot down that spot and “#1” on the back of your sheet of paper.
  • Have each person name three things that frighten them the most, right now.
  • On the front of your paper, make a word collage of all those words. (Or, use your strips of tissue paper: write one word on each strip. When you place them at the Station, be sure the words are visible without permanently attaching them to anything.)

The Second Station Matthew 26:47-56

Jesus Is Betrayed by Judas, Arrested, & Abandoned by the Disciples

Excerpt

At once [Judas] came up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. 50 Jesus said to [Judas], “Friend, do what you are here to do.” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and arrested him. 51 Suddenly, one of those with Jesus put his hand on his sword, drew it, and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear. 52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. (NRSV)

Activity

  • Locate a spot in or around your home for the second station.
  • Jot down that spot and “#2” on a piece of paper.
  • Find a “sword”: any object that feels like a sword will do (a knife, a letter opener, etc.).
  • If you do not have a “sword”, draw or create one with paper or cardboard.
  • Attach the numbered paper to the sword.

The Third Station Matthew 26:57-66

Jesus Is Condemned by the Sanhedrin

Excerpt

59-60 The high priests, conspiring with the Jewish Council, tried to cook up charges against Jesus in order to sentence him to death. But even though many stepped up, making up one false accusation after another, nothing was believable. (MSG)

Activity

  • Locate a spot in or around your home for the third station.
  • Jot down that location and “#3” on the back of a piece of paper.
  • Have each family member yell an accusation into the air.
  • If you are by yourself, yell as much as you like!
  • On the front of your paper, make the accusations into a list or word collage.
  • (Or, use your strips of tissue paper: write one word on each strip. When you place them at the Station, be sure the words are visible without permanently attaching them to anything.)

The Fourth Station Matthew 26:69-75

Jesus Is Denied by Peter

Excerpt

73 Shortly after that, some bystanders approached Peter. “You’ve got to be one of them. Your accent gives you away.”

74-75 Then he got really nervous and swore. “I don’t know the man!”

Just then a rooster crowed. Peter remembered what Jesus had said: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” [Peter] went out and cried and cried and cried. (MSG)

Activity

  • Locate a spot in or around your home for the fourth station.
  • Jot down that spot and “#4” on the back of an envelope.
  • Have each person write a name and address of someone they have not communicated with for a long time on an envelope.

The Fifth Station Matthew 27:1-2, 11-26

Jesus Is Judged by Pilate and Condemned to Die

Excerpt

24When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere and that a riot was imminent, he took a basin of water and washed his hands in full sight of the crowd, saying, “I’m washing my hands of responsibility for this man’s death. From now on, it’s in your hands. You’re judge and jury.”

25The crowd answered, “We’ll take the blame, we and our children after us.”

26Then [Pilate] pardoned Barabbas. But he had Jesus whipped, and then handed over for crucifixion. (MSG)

Activity

  • Locate a spot in or around your home for the fifth station.
  • Jot down that spot and “#5” on the back of whatever paper comes out of the following activity:
  • Look through news stories in a newspaper, magazine or online and cut out or print stories of injustice. 

The Sixth Station Matthew 27:27-31

Jesus Is Mocked

Excerpt

 28They stripped [Jesus] and put a scarlet robe on him, 29and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head. They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. (NRSV)

Activity

  • Locate a spot in or around your home for the sixth station.
  • Jot down that spot and “#6” on a piece of paper.
  • Find something sharp or prickly.
  • It might be a piece of a plant, tree, or bush; it might be a tool of some kind. 
  • Attach the numbered paper to this object.

The Seventh Station Luke 23:26

Jesus Is Helped by Simon to Carry the Cross

Excerpt 

26As they led [Jesus] away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus. (NRSV)

Activity

  • Locate a spot in or around your home for the seventh station.
  • Jot down that spot and “#7” on a piece of paper.

Find an object that is heavy or an object that you would associate with being heavy, such as a weight or a brick.

CONCLUSION

Place all of your objects in a basket or bin, along with the papers that indicate their number and the location you chose for that station.

As closure to tonight’s practice, as you place each object in the bin/basket, you might bless it with simple words of gratitude, such as:

“Spirit of Love, we thank you for helping us to remember and pray the story of your love for the world.”

When all the objects are safely stowed away, let each person close their eyes, take a few deep breaths, let them out, and rest until they are ready to move into the next part of the evening.