The Stations of the Cross refer to a series of pictures or other artistic representations used to depict the last events leading to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Although commonly used in conjunction with prayer and meditation as a spiritual devotion during Easter, they can be used at any time of the year.
St Barnabas Church in Mitcham holds a beautiful devotional on Good Friday each year at 2:00p.m. Yesterday’s service was led by Fr. Joabe Cavalcanti and Rev Trudy Payne and I have included some excerpts from the devotional below. If you are not able to get to a service near you, then perhaps just reflecting on this devotional might keep you in touch with the most important event in the Christian Calendar.
Station 1: Jesus is condemned to death (Matthew 27:22-26) Meditation and Prayer Pilate asked what crime Jesus had committed. It was a good question. Jesus has annoyed the religious leaders, of that there was no doubt. He had been critical of the social and religious structures. He had healed the villagers; he had told stories to the crowds; He was probably a threat to law and order but was this enough to condemn him, to end his life? But he would not defend himself – the storyteller was silent now and the crowd was noisy and Pilate handed him over to be crucified. Let us pray for all who administer justice, all who face trial this day, all those incarcerated and those falsely imprisoned.
Station 2: Jesus takes up his cross (Mark 15: 16-20) Meditation and Prayer Soldiers taking the chance for a bit of fun. They had a heavy day ahead. Soon they would have to put on their public face – Disciplined, controlled, efficient. But for now a bit of a lark with the lads with no risk of recrimination. Dead men tell no stories, and Jesus was going his death.
We pray that we might give our lives to the service of God, accepting the trials and difficulties of the pilgrimage of this earthly life.
Station 3: Jesus falls for the first time (John 12: 23-25) Meditation and Prayer Jesus was exhausted. He was in pain. He was going to his death. The cross was heavy and he fell. He was flesh and blood like us, he was struggling.
We pray for all who feel weighed down by anxiety, stress or concern for those whom they love.
Station 4: Jesus meets his Mother (Luke 2: 188.8.131.52) Meditation and Prayer She was going to be there at his end – She who had been there with Him at his beginning. She was his Mother. She had fed him and cradled him and watched over his growing. Whatever he had said and done, He was still her son and she would not desert him now. Whatever pain of his she could embrace she would. And in the meeting of their eyes there was love, suffering and shining.
We pray for all parents, those who look after loved ones who are sick and suffering and children who suffer at the hands of others.
Station 5: Simon of Syrene helps Jesus to carry his cross (Luke 23:26) Meditation and Prayer Simon of Cyrene, what a tale you have to tell! You helped Jesus. You gave him your strength on the streets of Jerusalem. Willing or unwilling, You, Simon have become a part of his story, and he part of yours, for you helped him, when he needed you. What would we give to be Simon?
We pray for all who have helped us on our Journey of faith. For all who are struggling with their faith at this time and all who have fallen away from the Church.
Station 6: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus (Matthew 25: 37 – 40) Meditation and Prayer Wiping faces, faces full of sweat and tears. Wiping faces is something we try to do gently and lovingly; something that cleanses and soothes. For those in pain or in trouble, wanting them to know that they are loved and cherished. And when we wipe the faces of God’s little ones we are wiping the face of God.
We pray for those who bring comfort and care to others. For all who work in the medical profession and all involved in with aid agencies.
Station 7: Jesus falls a second time (Isaiah 53:7) Meditation and Prayer I am finding it hard to watch you Jesus, to see you struggling, to see you on the ground. Into your silence I want to shout: ‘Why do we keep on hurting you? What have you done wrong?’
We pray for those caught up in warfare, for victims of terrorism, and those who lie in poverty because of the greed and injustice of others.
Station 8: Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem (Luke 23: 27 -28) Meditation and Prayer Weep for the mothers and children of Jerusalem, for Israeli and Palestinian, for Jew, Moslem and Christian, for the strangers in their midst. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Pray that her people may live together in justice. Pray that all people may live together in peace.
We pray for those who eagerly await the coming of the Kingdom and who try to witness to it as a present reality in their work for justice and peace.
Station 9: Jesus falls a third time (John 15: 18 – 20) Meditation and Prayer I am not sure if I can watch you much longer. In his pain I see my pain, in his falling I feel myself falling, in his cross … in his cross I am included. He carried it for me – for me, and my enemies, and my friends.
We pray for those whom we love, those whom we struggle to like and those who find us difficult; for the grace to truly accept difference.
Station 10: Jesus is stripped of his garments (March 15: 22 – 24) Meditation and Prayer Stripped now – of clothing, of disciples, of friends. Alone, naked and vulnerable, with nothing to protect you from the pain to come.
We pray for the downtrodden and the rejected. For the refugee, the victim of prejudice, all who are deprived of their rights and freedom.
Station 11: Jesus is nailed to the cross (Luke 23:33, 48, 49 Meditation and Prayer We look on from a distance: A distance of time and space and culture, and yet even for us it hurts to watch Jesus dying. It hurts to know that we are rescued. It hurts to know that we are cherished and loved.
We pray for all who contemplate ending their own lives. Those who work in hospices and face death daily and for those who await execution and can find no joy in being alive.
Station 12: Jesus speaks to his mother (John 19: 25 – 27) Meditation and Prayer On the cross, Jesus gives his mother to us. As Eve was the Mother of All the living, the Blessed Virgin now becomes the Mother of all Humankind. Mary, the Christ-bearer, is also the bearer of a new creation.
Station 13: Jesus Dies (Matthew 27: 45 – 46) Meditation and Prayer And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, ‘Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit; and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. (Luke 23: 44 – 46)
Station 14: Jesus is taken down from the cross (Mark 15: 42 -45) Meditation and Prayer Jesus is dead and lies in the arms of his mother. Death is hard and final. And yet, whatever happens on this earth, children never die to their mothers. In the memory of those who love them, loved ones remain. And for us, and for all God’s people, our hope is safe in God. From the swaddling bands to grave clothes, all the days of our living and dying, we are cradled and wrapped in God’s love.
We pray for all families and especially those which have experienced the death of a child. We pray for all who mourn with no hope in the resurrection.
Extract from the Hymn: How deep the Father’s Love
I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom;
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from his reward?
I cannot give an answer;
but this I know with all my heart,
his wounds have paid my ransom.
©Stuart Townsend 1995
Kingsways Thank You Music
St Barnabas Church can be contacted at the following address. St Barnabas Vicarage 46 Thirsk Road Mitcham Surrey CR4 2BD http://www.stbarnabasmitcham.org/events.php
Do come and visit with us, a warm welcome awaits you!
© Cay Moore 2012 All Rights Reserved