The Stations of the Cross

As in many churches, we have a fine set of plaques around the walls depicting the fourteen “Stations of the Cross”. In Holy Week we process round, and meditate on these stages of Christ’s journey towards and including his Crucifixion. During the Coronavirus crisis of 2020 (since we have been instructed not to be in the building) we have posted these images of the Stations in St. Mary Newington onto our website, along with some devotional text.

OPENING PRAYER 

This is what you were called to do, because Christ suffered for you and left an example for you to follow the way he took. (1 Peter 2:21) 

God our Father,  We stand before you in this place and  ask you to touch our hearts with a ray of your Light.
Help us to see this journey as a following in the faltering steps of your Son and of every one of your children who has walked the path of sorrow.
Change us as we go.  Amen

THE FIRST STATION Jesus is condemned to death 

We adore you O Christ and we bless you.  Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. 

We pray for those condemned without just cause and those with no one to plead for them. ‘It was you who accused the Holy One, the Just One, you who demanded the reprieve of a murderer while you killed the prince of life. God, however, raised him from the dead, and to that fact we are the witnesses.’  (Acts 3:14-16) 

Lord Jesus, your words began to open a door in Pilate’s heart – but fear slammed it shut, as it shuts off so many paths in this world. May we be open to your liberating word and rise above the clamour of our fears. 

Holy God, Holy and strong, Holy and Immortal, have mercy on us.

THE SECOND STATION Jesus takes up his cross 

We adore you O Christ and we bless you.  Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. 

We pray for those who are heavily burdened by the weight of their own crosses.  ‘Blessed be the Lord day after day, the God who saves us and bears our burdens!’ (Psalm 68: 19) 

Lord Jesus, the cross is tied to your shoulders like a beast of burden. But through this yoke, you make your cross a plough, turning over the hard earth of our hearts and planting in them the seed of the Word. Help us to see the cross as an invitation to fruitfulness. 

Holy God, Holy and strong, Holy and Immortal, have mercy on us.

THE THIRD STATION Jesus falls for the first time 

We adore you O Christ and we bless you.  Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. 

We pray for those who fall, or those whom we cause to fall. ‘Give my eyes light or I shall sleep in death, and my enemy will say, ‘I have beaten him’, and my oppressors have the joy of seeing me stumble.’ (Psalm 13:3-4) 

Lord Jesus, to fall is always a humiliation, even when unseen. Your falling is part of a spectacle of torment: you fall before eyes that wish to see you brought low. If I take pleasure in the fall of another, help me see that I too am falling. Raise me up with you. 

Holy God, Holy and strong, Holy and Immortal, have mercy on us.

THE FOURTH STATION Jesus meets his mother 

We adore you O Christ and we bless you.  Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. 

We pray for those who lack the support of friends and family.  ‘But when the appointed time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born a subject of the Law, to redeem the subjects of the Law and to enable us to be adopted sons.’ (Galatians 4:4-6) 

Lord Jesus, your Mother sees you coming towards her, carrying not a gift nor a grandchild, but the cross.  And yet, in the mysterious depths of providence, the cross is your gift. 

Holy God, Holy and strong, Holy and Immortal, have mercy on us.

THE FIFTH STATION Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus 

We adore you O Christ and we bless you.  Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. 

We pray for those who come to the help of the poor. ‘Carry each other’s troubles and fulfil the law of Christ.’ (Galatians 6:2-3) 

Lord Jesus, how did Simon help you? Did he take the cross upon his own shoulders or did he carry it with you? In the end, what matters is that we know his name. Having walked with you on this road, he must have followed you thereafter. Simon’s way of the cross became his way to life. 

Holy God, Holy and strong, Holy and Immortal, have mercy on us.

THE SIXTH STATION Veronica wipes the face of Jesus 

We adore you O Christ and we bless you.  Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. 

We pray for those who help others recognise their true beauty and dignity.  ‘If I have found favour with you, accept the gift I offer. To speak truly, I came into your presence as into the presence of God, but you have received me kindly.’ (Genesis 33:10) 

Lord Jesus, blood, sweat and tears are the lot of so many in our world. Sometimes it is hard to see their beauty and dignity through this mask of suffering: but Veronica saw through yours. In wiping your face, she shows us your true image reflected in the faces of the poor and the marginalised. 

Holy God, Holy and strong, Holy and Immortal, have mercy on us.

THE SEVENTH STATION Jesus falls for the second time 

We adore you O Christ and we bless you.  Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. 

We pray for those beset by fear in their lives. ‘His state was divine, yet he did not cling to his equality with God but emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave, and became as men are.’ (Philippians 2: 6-8) 

Your fall brings you to the ground again.  You become one of us, walking this earth – which you formed from the dust of the universe – as a man, formed from that same dust. Through your self- emptying you set aside your equality with God. In your fall you raise us up. 

Holy God, Holy and strong, Holy and Immortal, have mercy on us.

THE EIGHTH STATION Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem 

We adore you O Christ and we bless you.  Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. 

We pray for mothers who plant the seed of faith in their families. ‘I am reminded of the sincere faith which you have; it came first to live in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice, and I have no doubt that it is the same faith in you as well.’ (2 Timothy 1:5) 

All too often it is women and children who suffer for the mistakes of the powerful. In stopping to speak to them you remind us of their power. They bring new life into the world and coax new growth from the soil. Here too the plough of the cross bears fruit. 

Holy God, Holy and strong, Holy and Immortal, have mercy on us.

THE NINTH STATION Jesus falls for the third time 

We adore you O Christ and we bless you.  Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. 

We pray for those who experience betrayal and slander. ‘For I put my trust in you, Yahweh…
Stop them gloating over me, do not let them take advantage of me if my foot should slip. And now my fall is upon me, there is no relief from my pains.’
(Psalm 38:15-17) 

Lord Jesus, it is hard to walk the uneven paths of this world.  All too often we fall just short of our goal. Give us perseverance in those moments of weariness and resignation. 

Holy God, Holy and strong, Holy and Immortal, have mercy on us.

THE TENTH STATION Jesus is stripped of his clothing 

We adore you O Christ and we bless you.  Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. 

We pray for those who are stripped of their rights and their dignity. ‘They glare at me, they divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothes.’
(Psalm 22: 17-18) 

Lord Jesus, those who stripped you meant your nakedness to be a thing
of shame: but just as you made your cross the Tree of Life, so you, the Second Adam, re-clothe our bodies in their original dignity. By donning our flesh you restore what was lost through sin, you take away the shame of our estrangement from God. 

Holy God, Holy and strong, Holy and Immortal, have mercy on us.

THE ELEVENTH STATION Jesus is nailed to the cross

We adore you O Christ and we bless you.  Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. 

We pray for those who feel they no longer have the strength to face the trials of life.  ‘I am like water draining away…
A gang of villains closes me in;
They tie me hand and foot
And leave me lying in the dust of death.’ (Psalm 22: 14-16) 

Lord Jesus, the tools of your trade are put to a cruel purpose: wood, hammer and nails now hold you fast. Those hammer blows resound with the weight of all the ages when we have taken tools and made them weapons: when instead of creating, we have destroyed. Forgive us, Lord. 

Holy God, Holy and strong, Holy and Immortal, have mercy on us.

THE TWELFTH STATION Jesus dies on the cross 

We adore you O Christ and we bless you.  Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. 

We pray for those whose lives are turned upside down by death.  ‘He was bearing our faults in his own body on the cross, so that we might die to our faults and live for holiness; through his wounds you have been healed.’  (1 Peter 2:24) 

Lord Jesus, as you die even your death brings life. The breath which escapes your lips is the breath of God which brought order out of chaos. That same breath will revive the apostles on the day of your rising. It is your gift to us. 

Holy God, Holy and strong, Holy and Immortal, have mercy on us.

THE THIRTEENTH STATION Jesus is taken down from the cross and placed in the arms of his mother 

We adore you O Christ and we bless you.  Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. 

We pray for mothers who mourn their children. ‘My heart has no lofty ambitions, My eyes do not look too high… Enough for me to keep my soul tranquil and quiet like a child in its mother’s arms.’  (Psalm 131: 1-3) 

Mary, mother of us all, your arms were your son’s first cradle – and his last. Be with those who suffer the loss of their children, especially through violence, addiction or hunger. 

Holy God, Holy and strong, Holy and Immortal, have mercy on us.

THE FOURTEENTH STATION Jesus is laid in the tomb 

We adore you O Christ and we bless you.  Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. 

We pray for all those preparing for the Easter sacraments. ‘In peace I lie down, and fall asleep at once, since you alone, Yahweh, make me rest secure.’ (Psalm 4: 8) 

In death, your resting place was not your own.  The compassion of others gave you shelter, the seed of faith moved Joseph to place you in his tomb. These acts of kindness make room for God to achieve his great purpose.  Whenever we are moved to pity or kindness, help us see that we too make room for your Father to do great things through us. 

Holy God, Holy and strong, Holy and Immortal, have mercy on us.

CONCLUDING PRAYER 

God our Father, 

The ending of this journey
is but a beginning:
death will be conquered,
wounds will be healed,
Love will rise triumphant over all.  We believe this to be true:
but help us to make the journey from holding this belief in our minds and making it flesh in our daily lives.
For that is what it means to be an Easter People: to not only say
‘I love you, Jesus’ but to show that love in plain sight of the world. 

We ask this, Father, in the name of your Risen Son and in the power of your Holy Spirit, You who are God forever blessed! Amen.