Stations of the Cross
If we were to visit Jerusalem, we could actually walk the path that Jesus took from the time he was condemned to where he died and was buried. This ancient prayer, the Way of the Cross, is our remembering the events of the last few hours of Jesus’ life. Documented as early as the fourth century, people have been remembering the incredible sorrow, pain and love that drove Jesus on to his death . . . where he died for us.
Praying the way of the Cross is important because it is a journey that each of us walks throughout our life. We deal with pain, sorrow, and love all the time. Being Christian and following Jesus doesn’t mean that you won’t have to deal with tough times or that you won’t have your own cross to carry. It does mean that you will have the strength and help to make it through those times.
As you experience these stations, listen and think about what you hear. Follow along the road and stop where Jesus stopped as he wearily and painfully walked to his death. Imagine what it was like for those involved in this journey and get in touch with what they might have felt. But most of all, as you participate in the way of the Cross listen to what the voice of God to you is saying as you take this journey you’ll never forget.
Take your time. Maybe you will go through all the stations in one sitting or maybe just a couple at a time.
Jesus is condemned.
Jesus is standing before angry people who are yelling and saying mean, hurtful things to him. Some of them tell lies about him, saying that he did bad things.
The people yell: “Crucify him! Crucify him!
But Jesus stays quiet, even though he knows that he will be hurt. He knows that God is with him.
I wonder has anyone ever said mean or hurtful things about you, or has anyone ever told a lie about you? I wonder how you felt? I wonder how Jesus felt at this moment?
Jesus receives the cross.
The cross is heavy and hurts so much when it is slung across Jesus’ back. Jesus doesn’t fight with them or say angry words to them. He knows that he has to carry the cross a long way, and he knows that it will be very hard for him at times.
Jesus falls the first time.
Jesus is so tired as he walks along he road with the heavy cross on his shoulders. The cross keeps pushing into his shoulders, and the stones on the road hurt his feet. People yell and push him; the soldiers shout for him to move faster. Then Jesus falls, and the soldiers yell at him more. How tired Jesus is!
I wonder have you ever fallen? How did you feel? I wonder how Jesus felt?
Jesus meets his mother.
A woman comes up to Jesus it’s his mother Mary. Mary feels so sad she feels every pain Jesus feels. Jesus sees the sadness Mary feels. Even though they both know God is with them, they can’t even say anything to each other, because they are so sad.
I wonder have you ever been sad, or do you know someone who has been very sad?
Find a piece of paper and draw a tear drop shape. In the tear drop share with God a reason you are sad or write the name of someone you know who is sad.
Simon help Jesus carry the cross.
The soldiers look around in the crowd to see if there is someone strong enough to help Jesus carry the cross. This person’s name is Simon. Jesus just looks at Simon and quietly whispers, “Thank you” to Simon. Then they continue on the long road, carrying the cross together.
Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.
Jesus is hot, tired, and sweating. His hair is all tangles, and he is covered in dust from the long walk. Suddenly a woman pushes her way out of the crowd and stands in front of Jesus. She takes a clean cloth and gently wipes Jesus’ face. It is an act of kindness and Jesus is thankful. A picture of Jesus’ face is left on the cloth.
Both Simon and Veronica help Jesus. Take a moment today to do an act of kindness for someone else.
Jesus falls a second time.
How very tired, weak, and sad Jesus is now. Even though he keeps trying to walk with the heavy cross, he just can’t keep going. Jesus falls, he just can’t take another step. It is so difficult for Jesus to get up again. But he does.
I wonder have you ever had a hard time with something? Maybe you can’t do something the way you want, or you feel as if you keep messing up on something? I wonder how you felt? I wonder how Jesus was feeling?
Jesus meets women who are crying.
Jesus passes some women who are crying because they are so sad to see Jesus suffer. But instead of thinking only of himself and how bad he feels, Jesus tells the women not to keep crying because of him. He tells them, instead , to take care of others.
Sometimes it is easy to just think of ourselves—about what is not going the way we want it or about problems we have. It is very hard then, to think about other people. I wonder how your heart looks when you think only of yourself.
Jesus falls a third time.
Jesus is so tired now that he can hardly take another step. It is hard for him to breathe. He has been walking a long time along the dusty road, and he has no energy left. He just can’t go on anymore. Then Jesus falls for the third time. Jesus gets up again, even though it is very hard for him to do.
Write or draw a prayer about yourself or someone else who needs help to keep going even though it may be hard. Jesus kept going even though it was not easy. Jesus knew God was with him.
Jesus’ clothes are taken away.
Finally Jesus reaches the hill that is the end of the road he has to walk. The soldiers pull off his long robe, and almost all his clothes are taken.
Jesus is nailed to the cross.
Wrists first and then Jesus’ feet. Long iron spikes nail you to the cross. Then the cross is hauled up for the world to see. I’m so sorry, Jesus. Jesus hurts all over, he is tired and thirsty. He looks at the people who have hurt him and, instead of saying bad things to those people, Jesus asks God to forgive them.
I wonder if there is something you have done that you need forgiveness for. I wonder if there is someone you need to forgive?
Jesus bows his head and dies. Now this part of his life is over. There is nothing left for Jesus to give or to do. Jesus has given his life for all of us.
Take a moment to be quiet and still.
Jesus is taken down from the cross.
No more pain or suffering for Jesus; all the pain is over. Mary, Jesus’ mother holds him tenderly in her arms. How sad she is. And how sad Jesus’ friends are. They are crying as they hold his body.
Jesus is laid in the tomb.
Jesus’ friends wash his body and wrap it in a clean sheet. They put his body into a tomb. When they are finished, they push a very large stone over the entrance, so that no one can go inside.
Can you remember a time when you were very sad to say goodbye to someone? Maybe you were leaving the person for only a short time, or maybe it was for a long time. Maybe you said goodbye to someone you loved when that person died. I wonder how you felt? I wonder how Jesus’ friends and family felt?
Take a few moments to write or draw about it.