The Way of the Cross – Wk 1

The Way of the Cross – Wk 1

The Way of the Cross is our Lenten Devotion. We are spending our Wednesday nights (online at 7 pm) leading up to Easter following the last hours of Jesus’ mortal life. We are using a series of short, simple online reflections of the traditional “stations of the cross” that Pilgrims in Jerusalem follow prayerfully every Friday. 

There are actual locations in Jerusalem along the Via Dolorosa where people pray each of these events. They are where tradition and legend say these things happened – some from biblical texts and others from later tradition. We do not know exactly where Jesus walked in ancient Jerusalem, and modern Jerusalem is not the same as it was in Jesus’ time. But tradition has assigned locations and created a route. You too can walk that way this Lent. Join us! 

Each week, the stations from the previous devotion (just the day before) will be summarized here in the E-pistle with a prompt for further, personal Lenten reflection. The more we do to prepare for Easter, it turns out, the more we might have to celebrate when resurrection arrives… 

This was our first week (as last week was Ash Wednesday), so we visited the first three stations:

1. The Pavement (Gabbatha in Aramaic) : Where Pilate, on his judgment seat, accepted the wishes of the Sanhedrin, and condemned Jesus to death. 

IMAGINE THAT JESUS’ MOTHER GETS TO CRADLE HER CONDEMNED SON FOR A MOMENT. ONCE THEY HAVE LED HIM AWAY, YOU ARE THERE WITH HER. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO COMFORT HER, AND HOW WOULD SHE RESPOND? 

2. The Place of the Skull (Golgotha in Aramaic) : Is the place outside the city walls, the skull- shaped hill where Jesus was crucified. He is led their bearing his own cross. 

IMAGINE YOU ARE STANDING ON THE HILLSIDE SHAPED LIKE A SKULL AND YOU SEE JESUS COMING INTO VIEW, WALKING TOWARD YOU, CARRYING THE CROSS. WHAT EMOTIONS DO YOU FEEL? IF YOU COULD SAY SOMETHING TO HIM, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?

3. The First Time Jesus Falls: A great crowd lines up along the way that Jesus must walk towards the cross. Like all crowds, it is mixed. There are a few who are lamenting this man’s misery, because they recognize his humanity, or because they are his followers. But the rest, the vast majority, are cheery at the entertainment of another’s suffering. In the crowd, you hear a few gasps, but much more laughter and cheering.

IMAGINE THAT AS YOU STAND THERE, A 10-YEAR OLD CHILD IS STANDING NEXT TO YOU. YOU NOTICE THE CHILD, NOT UNDERSTANDING, IS LOOKING TO YOU, AN ADULT, FOR HELP, AN EXPLANATION. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?