The Stations of the Cross are a series of fourteen images or statues (along with accompanying prayers) that recreates the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem. The Via Dolorosa is believed to be Jesus' processional route from his trial to his crucifixion. You can find an example of what the Stations typically look like here.
The Stations, which have been around in some form since at least the 400s, have provided faithful, home-bound pilgrims with an opportunity to visit Jerusalem and Jesus' Passion in their imaginations for centuries. The Stations can be visited anytime, but Good Friday provides us with a special opportunity to be with Jesus (and to not look away).
Good Friday, crucifixion, and death are not unique to Jesus. They are universal and can be found in many times and places. So, in the Stations as they've been laid out below, instead of reflecting on traditional images of Jesus, we'll be reflecting on "Good Friday" images from the news over the last year or on images that relate to some crisis, some tragedy, some death that has been with us and on our hearts in this past year.
As you scroll through the stations below, I suggest you take your time. Linger on the images. If you click on them, they'll open in a popup that fills the screen. Really see them. Feel them. Let the images and the emotions they contain draw you closer to the one who suffers with us. Pray the prayers. If you're not a pray-er, read them with as much conviction and hope as you can muster and see what happens.
Good Friday is the most difficult Christian Holy Day. But observing it, being with Jesus, and feeling the pain of the world is important spiritual work. I pray that the images, reflections, and prayers below draw you closer to the world's aching places and that they embolden you to find the voice that will let you declare Good News to the world.
Special thanks to Jim O'Brien who wrote many of the prayers below.
The First Station:
Jesus the Imagination
Thoughts and dreams, musings and meditations