Bp Mary Glasspool, Assisting Bishop in the Diocese of New York, recently wrote a meditation about the Lenten Practice of Stations of the Cross. As you may know, the devotion developed out of the practice of early Christians who wanted to literally walk in the footsteps of Jesus as he journeyed in his last hours to the cross. Over time, it became impractical for most Christians to go to Jerusalem to actually walk the Via Dolorosa (as the street in Jerusalem is called). And so the idea of creating symbolic stations that represented particular points in Jesus’ route was born.
Traditionally, there are as many as fourteen stations: Pilate condemning Jesus to die, Jesus accepting his cross, Jesus falling for the first time, Jesus meeting his mother, Simon helping to carry the cross, Veronica wiping Jesus’ face, Jesus falling for the second time, Jesus meeting the women of Jerusalem, Jesus falling for the third time, Jesus being stripped of his clothes, Jesus being nailed to the cross, Jesus dying on the cross, Jesus being taken down from the cross, and Jesus being placed in the tomb. At each station, time is taken for reflection and prayers.
This Lent you might be interested to try a novel way of participating in the devotion of the stations of the cross, by going on a pilgrimage through Manhattan! I learned in Bp Mary’s post that there are Art Stations sponsored by Trinity Church scattered around our city – you can learn more at http://www.artstations.org/art. The stations begin at the Cloisters museum with illuminated manuscripts and end at the September 11 memorial, with stops in various churches and memorials in between. Even if you don’t go to each of the stops, you can take a meditative journey at home through the website!
And of course, another way to participate in Jesus’ last journey is to walk it with us here at Holy Apostles. You can walk along with Jesus by simply being with us for the services of Lent, and especially of Holy Week, beginning with Palm Sunday on March 25, continuing with Evening Prayer on the following Monday, Insight Bible Study and Eucharist on Tuesday, Tenebrae on Wednesday, and of course Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, the Great Vigil on Saturday evening and Easter Sunday on April 1 (no joke!).
However you choose to walk with Jesus, may you each have a deep and holy journey!