The Way of the Cross
Reflections on the Passion of the Christ
You are invited to walk in the steps of Christ, as you participate in the Stations of the Cross in a prayerful discipline. Consider walking along the stations, drinking in the artwork offered to you, reading the scriptures that apply to that station, and offering a prayer, before moving to the next station. Take as long as you wish. Pause, and pray as needed.
O Lord, as we contemplate the Cross and what it means, we are filled with joy and wonder at the sacrifice that Jesus has made to show us light in the darkness and offer us life in the midst of death. We confess that we have nothing to offer in return for that sacrifice, nothing that will match such love. We know that only love can respond to such a gift. Yet we know that we are not always loving or lovable. But you remain steadfast in your grace. And so we cry out to you, O Lord. Forgive us for our faltering steps. Kindle in us the fire of your love so that we may be renewed. Light within us a love beyond emotion and sentimentality, a love that is willing to lay aside all privilege and self-centeredness, that is willing to surrender all our fears and uncertainties to you, that desires nothing more than to love God with all our being and to love those around us with the same faithfulness with which you love us. Speak, Lord, for your servants are listening. We adore you, O Christ, we bless you because by your Holy Cross, you have redeemed the world. Lord Jesus, Help us walk in Your steps. Amen.
Station 1 and 2: Sorrow and Betrayal
Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel sorrow and distress. Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me.” He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.” When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Then, while [Jesus] was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs, who had come from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. His betrayer had arranged a signal with them, saying, “the man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him and lead him away securely.” He came and immediately went over to him and said, “Rabbi.” And he kissed him. At this they laid hands on him and arrested him.
(Mark 14: 43-46)
Compassionate Lord, we are humbled by your love. We are appalled at our own weaknesses. Help us to find your strength in the midst of life. Help us to offer our strength to others, and in that way, honor your sacrifice even more. We adore you, O Christ, we bless you because by your Holy Cross, you have redeemed the world. Lord Jesus, Help us walk in Your steps. Amen.
Station 3 and 4: Condemnation and Denial
When day came the council of elders of the people met, both chief priests and scribes, and they brought him before their Sanhedrin. They said, “If you are the Messiah, tell us,” but he replied to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I question, you will not respond. But from this time on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?” He replied to them, “You say that I am.” Then they said, “What further need have we for testimony? We have heard it from his own mouth.”
(Luke 22: 66-71)
Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. One of the maids came over to him and said, “You too were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it in front of everyone, saying, “I do not know what you are talking about!” As he went out to the gate, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This man was with Jesus the Nazorean.” Again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man!” A little later the bystanders came over and said to Peter, “Surely you too are one of them; even your speech gives you away.” At that he began to curse and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately a cock crowed. Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had spoken: “Before the cock crows you will deny me three times.” He went out and began to weep bitterly.
(Matthew 26: 69-75)
Lord Jesus, you alone are powerful. Help me to see that I don’t need to be the star, to be thanked or honored for my choices. Help me to see that honoring you is the only choice that leads to peace. We adore you, O Christ, we bless you because by your Holy Cross, you have redeemed the world. Lord Jesus, Help us walk in Your steps. Amen
Station 5 and 6: Judgment and Crowning
The chief priests with the elders and the scribes, that is, the whole Sanhedrin, held a council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate questioned him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” He said to him in reply, “You say so.” The chief priests accused him of many things. Again Pilate questioned him, “Have you no answer? See how many things they accuse you of.” Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed…. Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barrabas… [and] handed [Jesus] over to be crucified.
(Mark 15: 1-5, 15)
Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head, and clothed him in a purple cloak, and they came to him and said,”Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck him repeatedly.
(John 19: 1-3)
Lord Jesus, show us where we may make a difference in the world, by standing for what you stand for. Give us strength, vision, and most of all reliance on you, Lord. We adore you, O Christ, we bless you because by your Holy Cross, you have redeemed the world. Lord Jesus, Help us walk in Your steps. Amen.
Station 7 and 8: Bearing and Helping
When the chief priests and the guards saw [Jesus] they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him. I find no guilt in him.” … They cried out, “Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your king?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha.(John 19: 6, 15-17)
They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.
(Mark 15: 21)
Lord Jesus, help us realize that every time we wipe a dish, pick up an object off the floor, assist a child in some small task, or give another preference in line; each time we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, teach the ignorant, or lend our hand in any way (it matters not to whom) – our name is Simon. And the kindnesses we extend to others we really give to you. We adore you, O Christ, we bless you because by your Holy Cross, you have redeemed the world. Lord Jesus, Help us walk in Your steps. Amen.
Station 9 & 10: Blessing and Crucifixion
A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children, for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.’ At that time, people will say to the mountains, ‘Fall upon us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?”
(Luke 23: 27-31)
When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left. [Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”]
(Luke 23: 33-34)
Jesus, you became poor so that we might be infinitely rich, possessing all that matters most – forgiveness, acceptance, value, eternal life. Help us not to become so attached to material things that we measure our worth or find our happiness in them. Help us instead to look beyond all else to that which matters most – our relationship with you, and the love that you offer us. We adore you, O Christ, we bless you because by your Holy Cross, you have redeemed the world. Lord Jesus, Help us walk in Your steps. Amen.
Station 11 & 12: Promise and Care
Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us.” The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
(Luke 23: 39-43)
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
John 19: 25-27
Lord Jesus, we often flee from pain. We flee from the burdens of our lives, choosing to run rather than stand for what it is right. Help us to see you in your nakedness, in your poverty, with nothing left you. Help us to see that you chose not to run, but to stand, for us. We yearn for your strength. Show us the way of Integrity. Show us how to be men and women who stand for something. Show us your path for wholeness through Integrity. We adore you, O Christ, we bless you because by your Holy Cross, you have redeemed the world. Lord Jesus, Help us walk in Your steps. Amen.
Station 13 & 14: Darkness and Burial
From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “This man is calling for Elijah.” At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last.
At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many. Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!” Matthew 27:45-54
When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph, who was himself a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be handed over. Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it [in] clean linen and laid it in his new tomb that he had hewn in the rock. Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance to the tomb and departed.
(Matthew 27: 57-60)
Let us pray. Lord Jesus, we ask you to look with mercy on your family, for whom you were willing to be betrayed and to be given over to the hands of sinners and to suffer death on the cross. When you were buried it seemed like the end of everything you promised and stood for. But it wasn’t; it was only the beginning. As we commemorate these events of Holy Week – your passion and suffering, your crucifixion and death, your resurrection to life – help us recall and reflect on who you are and what you have done for us. Gracious Father, send your abundant blessing upon your people. Grant us forgiveness and bring us peace, that our faith would grow stronger, our love grow deeper, and our hope and salvation be assured. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.