Stations of the Cross Intro for Leaders

CONGREGATIONAL LEADERS:

PLEASE SEE “HOLY WEEK MONDAY”, “HOLY WEEK TUESDAY” AND “HOLY WEEK WEDNESDAY” FOR THE STATIONS OF THE CROSS TEMPLATES.

That outline is for use around a family’s home – either inside or out. We will provide modifications for use around a neighborhood or church building, if desired. 

Each station will need:

  • *the text (links and excerpts provided)
  • *a prayer (sample prayers provided)
  • *a found or created reflection object/art piece

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.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: SHARE AT YOUR DISCRETION

WHAT ARE THE STATIONS OF THE CROSS?

In a nutshell: Stations of the Cross are a Christian Holy Week practice dating back to Medieval Europe (and before, in varying forms), in which Christians “walk” or “make” the final journey of Jesus’ life: from the Garden of Gethsemane to Golgotha.

Based roughly on physical sites that became highlights of Jerusalem pilgrimages, eventually the Stations were reduced to 14 specific “events” in Jesus’ final hours. Originally, some of these events were based purely on tradition (rather than Scripture), and in 1991 Pope John Paul II created a Scriptural Way of the Cross, creating a completely biblical version.

For many years the 14 tradition-based Stations were placed as reliquaries in Roman Catholic Churches – often along the side aisles of the sanctuary – encouraging a regular practice of the Stations. In recent years this form has been transformed into a variety of expressions: printing images that reflect a parallel but contemporary suffering of Christ in the world; online versions abound; and making stations along a walkway out-of-doors are but a few.

This year, as we shelter-in-place, the creation of Stations of the Cross – either in a home or outside for a neighborhood to share – seems extremely appropriate.

Learn more about the history, traditions and purpose of Stations of the Cross from Online Ministries. We’re basing some of our activities on insights shared there.

WHAT IS THE INTENT?

We walk in Jesus’ footsteps as a form of prayer and as an imaginative exercise.

Note: this is not an intellectual exercise. Simply reading the stories is not the intention, nor the completion of the practice. Please encourage yourself and one another to spend time sinking into the depth of emotion – and the deep implications for you, personally, and/or your neighborhood, and/or society as a whole. Let this be a time to connect on an emotional and spiritual level with Jesus’ final human expression of love for the world; for you.

HOW IS THIS GOING TO WORK?
Monday and Tuesday of Holy Week, you are invited to create prompts for the 14 Stations of the Cross.

Determine if this is best observed within your home or outside (with precautions), with your neighbors.

If you are able to take it outside, different families could prepare different stations so no one is doing them all.

This is meant to be spiritually interactive, but not physically so. Tonight we will create the first seven stations. Tuesday night we’ll create Stations 8-14. Wednesday night, you are invited to put them all in place. If outside, the neighborhood can begin sharing on Maundy Thursday (when we’ll be inside with a meal) and continue through Good Friday.

SHAPING TEXTS & THEME FOR THESE ACTIVITIES:

John 3:16

“God so loved the world as to give the Only Begotten One, that whosoever believes may not die, but have eternal life.

God sent the Only Begotten into the world not to condemn the world, buty that through the Only Begotten the world might be saved.” (The Inclusive Bible; Rowman & Littlefield, 2007)

Matthew 3:17

17And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’

God sends the Beloved into the world to reveal God’s love for the world, claiming all creation and each individual in it as Beloved. We see Love poured out in love for the sake of the Beloved most clearly in Jesus’ final days and hours. The Passion of Christ is God’s passionate love for the whole creation, gushing out visually and viscerally, revealing what Love means for “me”, personally; what it means for the “other” we struggle to see; what it means for the world

The Stations of the Cross is an opportunity to re-member this story: walking it into our own bodies with texts and visual aids that draw us into the spiritual and emotional reality of what Divine Love is and for whom and to whom it is offered.