On Maundy Thursday I experienced the Stations of the Cross at a co-worker’s church. Each station was humbly presented with powerful sensory tools. Each allowed the individual to contemplate Holy Week in a serene, peaceful atmosphere. A reference brochure was available to guide me on my path. Please note I have included several phrases from that brochure in this post.
Station 1: Jesus is prepared.
At this station I sat and reflected – it’s been a stressful week. The fountain was soothing; the greenery reminded me of Jesus in the garden. I prayed selfishly: for strength and peace, for kindness and humility.
Station 2: Jesus is betrayed.
At this station I was asked to open a money pouch and pick up and rub each individual coin reflecting upon friendship, needs, values, relationships and family. I questioned my priorities in life.
Station 3: Jesus is denied.
At this station I was asked to reflect upon life betrayals. Life skills, life priorities, life capacities or social acceptance may have precipitated these betrayals. After pondering these hurts, I was asked to write down the phrase “Even though…….God still loves me” on a white board to symbolize past hurts and God’s steadfast love. Some hurts cut through the heart; I may have to write those words a multitude of times.
Station 4: Jesus is condemned.
As I entered this station I saw a pitcher filled with water and several towels lying upon tables. Pilate’s plan was to wash away the guilt felt at pronouncing Jesus’ death sentence. As I rinsed my hands with water, I read “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and God has laid on Jesus the sins of us all.” Isaiah 53:6-7
Station 5: Jesus is insulted.
At this station I adlibbed. Several stones were lying on the floor or on tables. I watched a short video about mercy and forgiveness. I was to hold a stone in my hand while offering words of forgiveness. I did that but I also picked up a stone and then dropped it. I was letting go and letting God.
Station 6: Jesus is scourged.
At this station a sword represented the treatment our Savior endured. I was thankful a flagellum was not on display. I learned the whip had small iron balls and sharp pieces of leather to inflict torture upon Jesus. Torn burlap cloth was available to observe the frayed edges. Traditional Jews mourned by tearing their clothing or “rending their garments.” This practice is known as kriah, a physical and visible demonstration of grief. We may feel broken or “torn” but Christ heals our life. Key word at this station: trust.
Station 7: Jesus is crucified.
At this station forgiveness was offered. After asking God to forgive my numerous sins, I wrote the word “SIN” on a piece of paper and taped it to a wooden cross. I was then asked to contemplate what Jesus meant to me. I wrote “Redeemer” on a yellow piece of piece and taped it to a tree representing the tree of life. Visual aid: the very, very long nails used to nail Jesus to the cross…made my stomach crawl.
Station 8: Jesus has died and is placed in the garden.
At this station located in the chapel I was asked to respond to God. Five options were presented. I could sing; express myself in a drawing or painting; journal a response to the day’s experience; pray –“Just pray.” or feel the joy of being a new creation in Christ as I listened to the water trickling down the fountain which was to remind me of my baptism. I chose to pray – just pray – those are the words that brought tears to my eyes. At the journaling table I wrote the words, The Greatest Story Ever Told, flanked by three crosses.
As I left the church I noticed flowers blooming next to the building and I was thankful I stepped out of my comfort zone and experienced these stations. I pondered, reflected, and shuddered at the actions taken toward my Savior. I took comfort in the ultimate Victory Station: the Cross.
I’m making a repeat visit Holy Week 2017.
In His Grip,