How to Walk the Stations of the Cross
There are 14 stations. Each meditation is between 10-15 minutes long. If you are listening during Holy Week, consider listening to two stations per day. Or you may also to choose to listen the whole way through a few times to experience the full journey. It's recommended that you pause for prayer after each station and journal your response.
For listeners who are not Christians, you are welcome to walk along. These readings will introduce you to the central story of the Christian faith. Though it may seem contrary to the "Hollywood" love story, I hope these meditations will reveal the self-denying love that guides our faith.
The Liminality of the Journey
In a recent interview with Walter Brueggemann, he called Lent a liminal moment. “We want to celebrate Easter but don’t want to do the hard work of Lent. This is a great seduction into which we all fall.”
Lent and Holy Week have a long tradition in Church history. Yet protestants who hold a sense of skepticism toward the Church calendar tend to scuttle their way directly from Christmas to Easter without much thought to the seasons of Epiphany and Lent which lie in between.
If you follow the Betwixt podcast, you know that I’m pretty keen on the spaces between one thing and another. It’s in these “betwixing” places where transformation happens most profoundly. This is why I’ve increasingly become aware of how Lent and Holy Week have incredible potential to shape our spiritual lives.
Lent is often called the season of bright sadness. Father John Breck wrote, “Bright sadness may be the most powerful and important experience we can know. It brings to our mind and heart, in the most direct and personal way, the ultimate purpose of our life and the object or end of our most passionate desire. It reminds us of who we are, as beloved children of God, created in His image and invited to glorify and enjoy Him forever.”
This paradoxical emotion of bright sadness is the fruit of transformation. But this transformation doesn’t just happen by showing up on Easter Sunday. It requires that we journey with Jesus the way of the cross. It requires that we do the “hard work” of Lent.
Why Follow the Way of the Cross?
I’m following the Way of the Cross this year because of the longing in my own heart to journey more closely with Jesus amidst the hustle and bustle of my hectic life. Yet, the hustle and bustle are hard to resist.
If you find the hustle and bustle hard to resist, I invite you to join me in this contemplative pilgrimage toward the cross. Betwixt has posted a series of meditations for Holy Week based the Stations of the Cross. Our journey begins with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and ends in the Garden Tomb awaiting his victorious resurrection.
For the follower of Jesus, the cross invites us to the hard work of laying ourselves down. To lay our old ways, our burdens, our wounds, our dreams, our anxieties at the foot of the cross. To see them buried in the tomb in order that new life can come forth. Jesus said that a seed of wheat must first be buried in the ground and die in order for it to bring forth the life that will bear fruit.
And at the heart of this journey is the message of love. As we engage the sorrow, the suffering, the violence while walking with Jesus toward the darkness, we discover that, indeed, there is no greater love than that which would lay itself down for others.
This self-giving love of Christ transforms and revitalizes us as we follow the way of the cross. It reminds us of who we are, as the beloved children of God, created in His image and invited to enjoy his presence forever.
* SPECIAL NOTE ON STATION 10
In Station 10, we meditate on a work of art entitled "White Crucifixion" by Marc Chagall. Please follow this link to view the image.
The 14 Stations of the Cross
1. Passion: Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-46)
2. Betrayal: Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested (Mark 14: 41-52)
3. Condemnation/Mockery: Jesus is condemned by the Sanhedrin (Luke 22:66-71)
4. Denial: Peter denies Jesus (Luke 22:54-62)
5. Judgement: Jesus is judged by Pilate (Mark 15: 1-15)
6. Scourge: Jesus is scourged and crowned with thorns (John 19:2-3)
7. Burden: The King takes up his cross (John 19:17)
8. Fall: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry his cross (Luke 23:26)
9. Sorrow: Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem (Luke 23:27-31)
10. Wounds: Jesus is stripped and crucified (John 19:34-37)
11. Thirst: Jesus says, “I thirst” (John 19:28-29)
12. Love/Grief: Jesus on the cross, his mother and his disciple (John 19:25-27)
13. Death: Death of Jesus (Mark 15:33-35)
14. Tomb: Jesus is placed in the tomb (Luke 23:50-56)
* Artful Scripture reading by Cody Wood.
** Art for the Stations provided by Holly Leonard and the Veritas Arts Collective.
*** These meditations were developed for the Veritas Community Church Lenten Vesper Services. Special thanks to the Vespers leadership team: Megan Blum, Lauren Raper, Charlotte Schermerhorn, Neil Leonard, Holly Leonard, Jacob Boyer, and Pastors Joe Byler and Parris Payden.