Contemporary Stations of the Cross
This time a time when time is suspended is surrounded and infused with ritual and emotion. No matter the Kalendar date or the year be it Anno Domini or if you prefer the politically correct designation Common Era this is a vehicle by which we enter into the Passion of Our Lord. One of the most traditional devotions is that of the Stations of the Cross which even in Churches that have not historically observed it, it has gained more and more usage among Christians. No matter our differences we are all united in and by and through the Cross and the Resurrection. The following is a contemporary form of this wonderful devotion that I have developed for this observance of Good Friday. I urge you to adapt it in any way that adds meaning for you. There are 14 Stations or places in the Sorrowful Way or Via Dolorosa as it is called in Latin that traces and mark the route that Jesus took to his Crucifixion.
I hope this may be of assistance to and for you as we all prepare for Pascha otherwise known as Easter.
First Station, Jesus is condemned to death.
Several Afghan young women and girls have acid thrown in their faces on their way to a newly opened school. Radical Islamic fundamentalists did this to them for what they the fundamentalists believed was a violation of Islamic practice and teaching about women (Like Jesus who was condemned by the “fundamentalists’ of his day and delivered to the Romans to do their dirty work for them)
O loving Savior help us to understand that in our tolerance for and or participation in violence we condemn you to death. By your Holy Cross deliver us to Peace and save us.
Second Station, Jesus bears His Cross.
Despite “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland many people Catholic and Protestant are determined to live together in peace and mutual respect. In Israel and Palestine many are likewise working toward the end of war and terror. In many places and in many lands people refuse to reject others because of labels of gender, sexuality, religion, age, and all other false divisions in the body of humanity.
O Holy One You who bore your Cross for us and who made no distinction between peoples help us to bear carry our cross in the work for justice and peace and equality for all human beings. By your Holy Cross save us and makes us whole.
Third Station, Jesus falls from the weight of His Cross for the first time.
In a world where hate is preferred over love, violence over peace, isolation over community, and money over persons we all sometimes fall under the pessimism of the age and shrink from our callings and ministries.
O Gentle Redeemer, give us the strength to pick up again our cross and say yes to life and to love, by Your Holy Cross lift us up and confirm our strength.
Fourth Station, Jesus Looks into the Eyes of His Mother.
Every battered woman, every frightened child, every orphan has the eyes of Mary. Remember the millions of children who have no mother or father. Remember all the homeless children and adults and you will see the eyes of Mary as does Jesus.
O Love Incarnate who knew the love of your Mother and her faithfulness to you even unto the place of your execution help us to be mothers and fathers brothers and sisters to all the innocent and abandoned ones, by your Holy Cross save us and create the family of your Love.
Fifth Station, Simon the Cyrenian is compelled to carry the Cross.
It is estimated that the collective worth of all the churches in the United States alone is worth in the trillions of dollars, yet there are people who go without food or medical attention or housing. There are still churches where women, gay lesbian bisexual and transgender people are denied full inclusion and respect and in some cases are treated with contempt and abuse. Let us pray that they may be compelled to carry the Cross of Christ
O Blessed Lord of All, grant us the courage to demand of those who claim your Name openness and inclusion of all the people you in your love and wisdom have made and called to be your children, by your Holy Cross embrace us and make us a community where no one is an outcast or a leper.
Sixth Station, Jesus meets Veronica.
Every time a person does an act of kindness, every time an individual speaks a word of blessing in a smile a nod a song or a salutation, every time one soul prays for another, every time one person forgives another, and every time a human being loves Veronica wipes the blood and spittle from the Face of Jesus.
O Holy Master, grant us the eyes to see the opportunities you put before us to wipe the blood and spittle from the faces of strangers, by your Holy Cross let us be Veronica to our neighbors, our friends and families, strangers and enemies.
Seventh Station, Jesus falls a second time.
When people are dying from hunger and war and famine, when people are sick and lonely, when the earth and her creatures are done injury to by our greed and egocentrism, Jesus fall again under the weight of our apathy.
O Sweetness of Heaven, calls again and again unto your service and teach us anew that without love and love’s ministry all is meaningless and there is no getting up from that cross, by Your Holy Cross save and deliver us.
Eighth Station, Jesus acknowledges and speaks to the Women of Jerusalem.
When women are treated like chattel, when women are dismissed as second class beings, when women are denied the dignity and beauty of their gender Jesus speaks to them and through them to all. It is they who remained faithful and it is they who did not desert him.
O Beloved One, opened the eyes of those who cannot see the Divine equality of all, female and male, opened the eyes of those who refuse to hear Your calling of women to your sacred priestly ministry and make rich the Household of Faith, by your Holy Cross redeem and broaden us.
Ninth Station, Jesus falls a third time.
When we are timid in our work for peace, when we are lazy in our efforts to reach out to friend and foe alike, when we cast out the immigrant from our midst, when we castigate and denounce those who differ from us we cause Jesus to fall yet a third time.
O Loving God in the Flesh, give to us the vision to see our weaknesses and our going astray, help us to listen to the heartbeat of others so that we can hear Your Heartbeat, by your Holy Cross redeem us yet again and save us and all for your love’s sake and ours.
Tenth Station, Jesus is stripped of His garments.
In the forgetting of the poor, in the coldness towards others and their needs, in the disrespect to the elderly, in the abuse of ecclesiastical authority, in the pretense of religion, in the oppression of the powerless, in the worship of money and power and status, in the deification of the ego, and in all manner of denial of the integrity and dignity of others we stripped Jesus of His garments.
O Emmanuel, You who came among us as one of us yet without sin, shake us and hold us that we might put on Your garments of Love and Forgiveness and Peace, by Your Holy Cross make it so.
Eleventh Station, Jesus is nailed the Cross.
The Romans knew precisely where to put the nails so as to inflict maximum pain and agony even as modern “Romans” do. When nations and corporations manage news and policies so as to protect the institution against just claims and petitions of workers, when regulations are made so as to allow for the pollution of air and sky and water, when people in power employ racism to advance their profit and that of multi national corporations, when we use others for own selfish needs and goals, when we do all that is not loving and healing we nail Jesus to the Cross.
O Crucified Savior, help us to understand how we crucify you anew each day whether as a people or as a person, By Your Holy Cross forgive us and save us.
Twelfth Station, Jesus Dies on the Cross
In life we often die in spirit and in our heart from spiritual and emotional starvation. In relationships we die one to another. In the union of marriage we die partner from partner. Whenever or however we die Jesus is there. In baptism we die with Jesus and we arise with him.
O Love All Excelling let us know that it is for us that you gave your Life so that we may live. You gave your heart so that we may love. You gave your breath so that we might breathe, By Your Holy Cross let us die to live again with you.
Thirteenth Station, Jesus is taken down from the Cross.
In life there comes a season when we must take our leave for a time. We are in the care of others not our own.
O Christ Our Lord, let us remember that when we are to take our leave You are the One who embraces and hold us near, by your Holy Cross you have redeemed our life our world our cosmos.
Fourteenth Station, Jesus is placed in the tomb.
When we think that evil has triumphed and injustice won and hurt sorrow and pain is the victor remember the tomb will soon be empty of its prisoner.
O Victorious Redeemer, who awaits no longer the rolling away of the stone, in your gentle nurturing create in us Hope that never fails, by Your Holy Cross you have indeed redeemed all that you have made!
Peace be with you
Bishop Andrew Gerales Gentry
- Posted in: Uncategorized