Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Good Friday Stations of the Cross

Stations of the Cross at Queen of Angels Catholic Church, Alpine

I spent Good Friday noon at Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Alpine, gathering with at least a hundred Christians to walk The Ecumenical Biblical Stations of the Cross. This event is hosted by the Alpine Ministerial Association and  involves Catholics and Protestants walking the 14 Stations of the Cross, the pastors of the various churches taking turns at reading the Passion story from the Scriptures as we listen and look out between the ten-foot tall natural wood crosses to see Alpine nestled below us, gauzy in the noon glare.

One of the pastors from Alpine Community Church reads the Scriptures to the assembled "pilgrims"; umbrellas give some of the elderly a break from the heat of the noon sunshine.

As the 100+ pilgrims nudge forward to the next cross, Father Acker of Blessed Trinity, the Anglican Church where I've been attending Friday morning healing services for the past nine years, leads us, playing his acoustic guitar, in a chorus of "Were You There?" that is related to the Scripture just read.

The Biblical Readings: The Way of the Cross:

Opening Prayer: Almighty God, your Son Jesus Christ was lifted high upon the cross so that He might draw the whole world to Himself. Grant that we, who glory in this death for our salvation, may also glory in His call to take up our crosses and follow Him; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Station 1: Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives -- Matthew 22:39-45
Station 2: Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus -- Matthew 26:47-56
Station 3: Jesus Before the Council -- Mark 14:60-65
Station 4: "My Kingdom Is Not of this World" -- John 18:33-37
Station 5: Pilate Delivers Jesus to Be Crucified  -- Mark 15:6-15
Station 6: Jesus Delivered to Be Crucified -- John 19:2-6
Station 7: Jesus Bears the Cross -- John 19:14-17
Station 8: Simon Helps Jesus Carry the Cross -- Mark 15:20-21
Station 9: Jesus Speaks to the Women -- Luke 23:27-31
Station 10: The Crucifixion -- Luke 23:32-38
Station 11: The Criminals Speak to Jesus -- Luke 23:39-43
Station 12: Jesus Speaks to Mary and John --John 19:25-27
Station 13: The Death of Jesus -- John 19:28-34
Station 14: Jesus Is Buried -- John 19:38-42

Guitar in hand, Father Acker of Blessed Trinity reads the Scripture for the Eighth Station: Simon Helps Jesus Carry the Cross (Mark 15:20-21)

Perspiration trickles down the back of my neck, and I try to shade my eyes with my folded program stating the Fourteen Stations and the Scriptures to be read at each Station. As we near the end, a kind woman tilts her umbrella to offer me some shade, a complete stranger serving another in this time of contemplation of Christ's suffering and sacrifice, His passion and death. As the final Scriptures are read, we turn away from the pastors, the view, and the unrelenting sunshine to leave in silence, pondering the magnitude of His sacrifice for each of us.

The Thirteenth Station: The Death of Jesus (John 19:28-34)

Psalm 30:5b: "Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning."

Quotation for the week: “Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people, and hallelujah is our song.”

~Pope John Paul II

With joyous Easter blessings,

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