One year as part of our Lent and Easter celebrations, my congregation planned an art-focused Stations of the Cross. We distributed the titles and Scripture texts for the final events of Jesus’ life from Station 1 Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane all the way to Station 15 Christ’s Resurrection. We invited children, youth, and adults to contribute, placed their artwork throughout the church, and invited people to spend time in reflection and prayer, walking through the stations at their own pace. There were original paintings, collage, sculpture, poetry—a wonderfully creative and contemplative way of retelling the story of Jesus’ arrest, suffering, death, and resurrection.
Since then, I’ve learned that Stations of the Cross are not only for Lent and Easter. Many Roman Catholic Churches have Stations of the Cross as part of the church sanctuary year round. The St. Benedict Center in Schuyler, Nebraska, has Stations of the Cross on the grounds behind the retreat centre. When I led a retreat there the week after Easter, I had some time to myself on the Saturday afternoon, and spent it here:
Each station is a place to stop for contemplation and prayer.
One side depicts an event from Jesus’ life.
The other side gives direction for prayer. This is Station XV: REMEMBER….those who believe in the Resurrection and give witness to it daily.
A cemetery is at the top of the hill.
Some leave a small stone as a sign of their presence and prayer.
I especially appreciated the guide to reflection and prayer at each station, and have found myself returning to these since then. Here they are in order of the fifteen stations for your reference and reflection.
~ those condemned unjustly, those sentenced by members of governments and society because of their faith
~ those carrying a heavy cross in life without murmuring, inspired by Christ
~ those breaking down under the weight of their failures — and fall
~ your own mother, all called to be mother to others, all expectant mothers
~ those who assist others in life without being recognized, those who give of themselves that others’ burdens are lightened
~ those reaching out to the marginalized of society, those helping AIDS victims, prisoners, minorities
~ those who lack the courage and strength to overcome addictions, personal shortcomings, sinfulness, and find themselves back in their old habits and behavior
~ families who are struggling with any kind of difficulties and problems, women oppressed by society, Church, work force, spouses
~ those who have given up and see no purpose and meaning in life
~ those sisters and brothers stripped of their dignity
~ those who find themselves trapped in difficult situations and see no way out
~ the lonely, the dying, those who have no one to be with in their final hours of life’s journey
~ those who mourn the loss of loved ones, those longing for consolation
~ those facing death without hope of eternal life, those who will die unexpectedly
~ those who believe in the Resurrection and give witness to it daily.
For more on everyday acts of faith,
sign up here for free email updates and receive
a copy of How to Pray When Prayer Seems Impossible