Our Lenten worship and activities this year were meant to be practical, “Make God Make Sense” and lead us to a breakthrough of God’s Spirit in a particular place. This might be in our life or in the life of someone else. One of our activities was a contemplative walk through the 14 “Scriptural stations of the cross.
This is such a rich experience and I am always shocked when it draws such a small crowd. We non-Roman Catholics don’t have a lot of experience with this sort of practice and we cheat ourselves when we don’t try them.
The stations are a virtual pilgrimage with Jesus during the last week of his earthly ministry. They date back to the fourth century when Christian pilgrims could actually go to Jerusalem and walk the footsteps of Jesus.
The emperor Constantine permitted Christians to worship openly in 313 after 250 years of persecution. In 335, he erected the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and processions of pilgrims came to walk the “Via Dolorosa” until the 7th century when it became too dangerous to make the trip.
These stations became a tradition that allowed this pilgrimage to be experienced at home. Centuries passed and the stations become more a part of church decor than a journey. The church divides many times and they become distinctly Roman Catholic. (Click on the images to enlarge them)
Many protestant churches did not use the stations because six of the stories were not specifically described in the Holy Bible. In order to share the stations with all Christians, Pope John Paul II introduced the “Scriptural” stations in 1991. These are both an option for Roman Catholics and an invitation for non-Catholics to worship through the stations.
The Meditative process is simple and effective. The journey has 14 stations that follow the scriptural story. The “Pilgrim” pauses, reads the scripture and prays while experiencing that part of Christ’s story.
There is no rush. There is no worry if people come behind you. You can take the stations at your own pace. You can always sit and pray after you visit each
station and even return and reflect on a station that is especially meaningful.
At the end of the journey, we had reception book and a special hand made prayer cloth to take home. These prayer squares, shown in the photo at the top, are crafted by the ” Cro-knitter” prayer ministry at our church. Eac stitch is a prayer.
The stations aren’t meant to replace Bible study or any other means of Grace. They provide a special moment and a new beginning. This is a total experience and not just a mental one. God’s Grace go with you as you find your new beginning each day in Christ.
Thanks to the many creative ministers at Cheatham Memorial UMC. In Edgewood Texas.