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Stations of the Cross: An Introduction

As we begin our celebration of Holy Week with Palm Sunday today, it is important to recognize and know the historical and spiritual significance. One of the pilgrimages that many Christians still do today, is to go to Jerusalem and retrace the path of Christ from Pilate’s house to Golgotha where He was crucified. This path is known as the via Delarosa or way of sorrow. The stations of the cross are along this path and currently have 14 stops from Christ being condemned to death, to His body being laid in the tomb. This pilgrimage is replicated in the liturgical practice of the church.

 

Many times, these stations will be represented in protestant churches by places around the church at which to pray, meditate, and remember the path to the cross that Christ took for us. The protestant church bases these stations strictly on biblical accounts. They are;

1. Jesus Prays Alone
2. Jesus is Arrested
3. The Sanhedrin Tries Jesus
4. Pilate Tries Jesus
5. Pilate Condemns Jesus to Die
6. Jesus Wears the Crown of Thorns
7. Jesus Carries His Cross
8. Simon Helps Carry the Cross
9. Jesus Speaks to the Women
10. Jesus Is Nailed to the Cross
11. Criminals Speak to Jesus
12. Jesus Cares for His Mother
13. Jesus Dies on the Cross
14. Jesus is Laid in the Tomb

Often, we rush so quickly to celebrate the resurrection and the triumph of Christ over death and sin, that we ignore the importance of recognizing and contemplating the path to this victory. Throughout scripture, God reminds His people to remember where they have come from and the places that God brought them out from. They are called to set up altars and remembrances in places to remind them of what God did for them. “It is in this mode of remembering, of re-presenting the events of the past as part of a living story that has not yet ended, a story in which we still participate, that the events become more than dates and places. They become markers of a journey as those who were no people become a people (Ex 6:7, 1 Peter 2:10), as those who grope awkwardly in the darkness come into the light of God’s presence (Isa 9:2, John 8:12), as those who were far off draw ever nearer to God and his grace.” (http://www.crivoice.org/stations.html)

“Beyond all the dogmas and the sentimentalism associated with the Cross, finally it is about faithfulness, servanthood, the commitment of One to another that will not abandon that commitment even when rejected. In a real sense, the cross is about the power of love, the commitment of God to humanity, the faithfulness and grace of God that knows no limits and will yield to no boundary, that will risk even death itself for the sake of new life.” (http://www.crivoice.org/stations.html)

As believers, we want to use this week, as we celebrate Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem, to His death, burial, and on Sunday His resurrection, to remember and be grateful for the path that Jesus walked for each of us. Every night this week a devotion will be posted on one of the stations of the cross. On Saturday we will have another video posted to close out the devotions for holy week and on Sunday we will come together and celebrate a risen Savior who has redeemed us from the hands of the enemy. Let’s all spend time in prayer, meditation on scripture, and study of scripture this week as we remember with gratitude what God has done for us. Wednesday night we will have a special service for Holy Wednesday, and we hope you can join us then for a time of prayer, worship, and communion.

“Come, and see the victories of the cross. Christ’s wounds are thy healings, His agonies thy repose, His conflicts thy conquests, His groans thy songs, His pains thine ease, His shame thy glory, His death thy life, His sufferings thy salvation.” – Matthew Henry

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