The Biblical Stations of the Cross

FIRST HYMN:      My Song is love unknown No 750 (Laudate)

INTRODUCTION:

Leader:   In the name of the Father, + the Son and the Holy Spirit

May the love of the Father who gives His only Son, the  grace of the Crucified One and the Spirit that flows from the pierced heart of the Cross be with you all …

St Paul wrote to the Christians of Corinth: ‘The message of the cross is folly … and yet it is the power of God! … I come among you in weakness and trembling only to preach only Christ crucified.’

As we walk this way of the Cross, helped and guided by these Stations carved out of the faith and pain of Africa, we gather into our hearts the pain of all the crucified of our world today, walking alongside and gazing upon the Christ who walks the way of suffering among our brothers and sisters in this moment of history.

Between each Station : one verse of At the Cross her station keeping No 223 (Laudate)

First Station: The Last Supper Mark 14: 22-25

And as they were eating he took bread, and when he had said the blessing he broke it and gave it to them. ‘Take it,’ he said, ‘this is my body.’ And he said to them, ‘This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, poured out for many. In truth I tell you, I shall never drink wine any more until the day I drink the new wine in the kingdom of God.’

Or John 13; 2-8 & 12-15

They were at supper, and the devil had already put it into the mind of Judas Iscariot son of Simon, to betray him. And he got up from table, removed his outer garments and, taking a towel, wrapped it round his waist; He then poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel he was wearing. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ Jesus answered, ‘At the moment you do not know what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ ‘Never!’ said Peter. ‘You shall never wash my feet.’ Jesus replied, ‘If I do not wash you, you can have no share with me.’ 12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments again he went back to the table. ‘Do you understand’, he said, ‘what I have done to you? You call me Master and Lord, and rightly; so I am. If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you must wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you”

Meditation: (World Hunger)

O God who nourishes Your People with bread of Life and Bread of Freedom, with Cup of Love and Cup of Sacrifice: transform us into Bread in Your Hands to be broken and given for the life of the world; give us the courage to drink the cup of the world’s suffering as You did.

Second Station: The Garden of Gethsemane Matthew 26:36-46

Then Jesus came with them to a plot of land called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Stay here while I go over there to pray.’ He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee with him. And he began to feel sadness and anguish. Then he said to them, ‘My soul is sorrowful to the point of death. Wait here and stay awake with me.’  And going on a little further he fell on his face and prayed. ‘My Father,’ he said, ‘if it is possible, let this cup pass me by. Nevertheless, let it be as you, not I, would have it.’ He came back to the disciples and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, ‘So you had not the strength to stay awake with me for one hour?

Stay awake, and pray not to be put to the test. The spirit is willing enough, but human nature is weak.’  Again, a second time, he went away and prayed: ‘My Father,’ he said, ‘if this cup cannot pass by, but I must drink it, your will be done!’ And he came back again and found them sleeping, their eyes were so heavy. Leaving them there, he went away again and prayed for the third time, repeating the same words. Then he came back to the disciples and said to them, ‘You can sleep on now and have your rest. Look, the hour has come when the Son of man is to be betrayed into the hands of sinners.  Get up! Let us go! Look, my betrayer is not far away.’

Meditation: (those afflicted with mental turmoil)

O God whose love invites us to drink of the Cup of Sacrifice and challenges us to abandon ourselves into Your hands in service of the Kingdom: be with us in our struggles so that we might stand alongside all who struggle to do Your will; and make us ever watchful and awake to the cries of the oppressed

Third Station:  The Kiss of Judas  Matthew 26: 47-56 

And suddenly while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared, and with him a large number of men armed with swords and clubs, sent by the chief priests and elders of the people. Now the traitor had arranged a sign with them saying, ‘The one I kiss, he is the man. Arrest him.’ So he went up to Jesus at once and said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi,’ and kissed him. Jesus said to him, ‘My friend, do what you are here for.’ Then they came forward, seized Jesus and arrested him.   And suddenly, one of the followers of Jesus grasped his sword and drew it; he struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his ear. Jesus then said, ‘Put your sword back, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, who would promptly send more than twelve legions of angels to my defence? But then, how would the scriptures be fulfilled that say this is the way it must be?”    It was at this time that Jesus said to the crowds, ‘Am I a bandit, that you had to set out to capture me with swords and clubs? I sat teaching in the Temple day after day and you never laid a hand on me.’ Now all this happened to fulfill the prophecies in scripture. Then all the disciples deserted him and ran away.

Meditation: (broken relationships, victims of domestic violence and abuse)

O God who is ever faithful even when we betray You: heal the hearts of all who have been betrayed by those whom they love so that they will not despair of loving and being loved; and let us never despair of your forgiveness and love

Fourth Station: The Denial of Peter     Mark 14: 27-31 &  66-72

Jesus said to them, ‘You will all fall away, for the scripture says: I shall strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered; however, after my resurrection I shall go before you into Galilee.’  Peter said, ‘Even if all fall away, I will not.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘In truth I tell you, this day, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will have disowned me three times. But he repeated still more earnestly, ‘If I have to die with you, I will never disown you.’ And they all said the same… While Peter was in the High Priest’s courtyard, one of the high priest’s servant-girls came up. She saw Peter warming himself there, and said, ‘You too were with Jesus, the man from Nazareth.  But he denied it. ‘I do not know, I do not understand what you are talking about.’ And he went out into the forecourt, and a cock crowed.  The servant-girl saw him and again started telling the bystanders, ‘This man is one of them”. But again he denied it. A little later the bystanders themselves said to Peter, ‘You are certainly one of them! Why, you are a Galilean.’ But he started cursing and swearing, ‘I do not know the man you speak of.’  And at once the cock crowed for the second time, and Peter recalled what Jesus had said to him, ‘Before the cock crows twice, you will have disowned me three times.’ And he burst into tears.

Meditation: (those who cannot forgive themselves)

O God who never stops trusting us, loving us, forgiving us, even when we fail you: give us the tenderness to forgive ourselves as You forgive us and so turn our every despair into hope, our every denial into love’s courage, our every sin into a new beginning of holiness

Fifth Station:  Jesus is scourged and crowned with thorns Mark 15: 15-20

Pilate, anxious to placate the crowd, released Barabbas for them and, having orderedJesus to be scourged, handed him over to be crucified. The soldiers led him away to the inner part of the palace, the Praetorium, and called the whole cohort together. They dressed him up in purple, twisted some thorns into a crown and put it on him. And they began saluting him, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!.’ They struck his head with a reed and spat on him; and they went down on their knees to do him homage. And when they had finished making fun of him, they took off the purple and dressed him in his own clothes.

Meditation: (victims of torture) 

O God  who sent Your beloved Son to be our Servant King who ‘did not cling to His equality with God but emptied himself to become a slave unto death on a Cross’: teach us and all humanity both to reverence and to protect the dignity of every human person made in Your own image and likeness

Sixth Station: Jesus is condemned to death by Pilate John 19: 12-16

From that moment Pilate was anxious to set him free, but the Jews shouted, ‘If you set him free you are no friend of Caesar’s; anyone who makes himself king is defying Caesar.’ Hearing these words, Pilate had Jesus brought out, and seated him on the chair of judgement at a place called the Pavement, in Hebrew Gabbatha. It was the Day of Preparation, about the sixth hour. ‘Here is your king,’ said Pilate to the Jews. But they shouted, ‘Away with him, away with him, crucify him.’ Pilate said, ‘Shall I crucify your king?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king except Caesar.’ So at that Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. They then took charge of Jesus.

or Luke 23: 18-25

As one man the crowd howled, ‘Away with him, give us Barabbas!‘ (This man had been thrown into prison for causing a riot in the city and for murder.) Pilate was anxious to set Jesus free and addressed them again, but they shouted back, ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’. And for a third time he spoke to them, ‘Why? What harm has this man done? I have found no case against him that deserves death, so I shall have him punished and then let him go.‘ But they kept on shouting at the top of their voices, demanding that he should be crucified. And their shouts grew louder. Pilate then gave his verdict: their demand was to be granted. He released the man they asked for, and handed Jesus over to them to deal with as they pleased.

Meditation:   (prisoners)

O God of all the world’s victims you watched with sorrow as Jesus, the Just One was wrongly condemned by the unjust: remind us always to care for prisoners rather than judge them, and to struggle for the freedom of all who are unjustly and wrongly imprisoned 

Seventh Station: Jesus carries His Cross and falls  John: 19: 17- ’22

And carrying his own cross he went out to the Place of the Skull or, as it is called in Hebrew, Golgotha.  Pilate wrote out a notice and had it fixed to the cross; it ran: ‘Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews’. This notice was read by many of the Jews, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the writing was in Hebrew, Latin and Greek. So the Jewish chief priests said to Pilate, ‘You should not write “King of the Jews”, but that the man said, “I am King of the Jews”. ‘ Pilate answered, ‘What I have written, I have written.

Mediation: (call to bear the burden)

O God, who in Jesus carries the pain and hurt of the world: challenge us to take up our Cross of love and witness anew each day to that wounded Brother who gives life and healing to all the broken of the world 

Eighth Station: Simon of Cyrene helps carry the Cross Mark 15: 21-22

They enlisted a passer-by, Simon of Cyrene, father of Alexander and Rufus, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha, which means the place of the skull. John19: 12-16                                                                                                                    From that moment Pilate was anxious to set him free, but the Jews shouted, ‘If you set him free you are no friend of Caesar’s; anyone who makes himself king is defying Caesar.’ Hearing these words, Pilate had Jesus brought out, and seated him on the chair of judgement at a place called the Pavement, in Hebrew Gabbatha. It was the Day of Preparation, about the sixth hour. ‘Here is your king,’ said Pilate to the Jews. But they shouted, ‘Away with him, away with him, crucify him.’ Pilate said, ‘Shall I crucify your king?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king except Caesar.’ So at that Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. They then took charge of Jesus.

Meditation: (walking alongside)

O God, who in Jesus comes among us vulnerable and in need of our friendship and help: challenge us to be Simons sharing the burden of the Cross with all broken and hurting of our society 

Ninth Station: Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem Luke 23: 27-21

Large numbers of people followed him, and women too, who mourned and lamented for him. But Jesus turned to them and said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep rather for yourselves and for your children. For look, the days are surely coming when people will say, “Blessed are those who are barren, the wombs that have never borne children, the breasts that have never suckled!” Then they will begin to say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”; to the hills, “Cover us!” For if this is what is done to green wood, what will be done when the wood is dry?’

Mediation: (women & children refugees)

O God, who in Jesus was an asylum seeker, searching for safe refuge with your mother in Egypt: may we reverence every woman and child the world over, and empower us to create communities that will welcome and protect all who rightly seek safe sanctuary among us  

Tenth Station: Jesus is stripped and nailed to the Cross Matthew 27: 33-38

When they had reached a place called Golgotha, that is, the place of the skull, they gave him wine to drink mixed with gall, which he tasted but refused to drink. When they had finished crucifying him they shared out his clothing by casting lots, and then sat down and stayed there keeping guard over him. Above his head was placed the charge against him; it read: ‘This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.’ Then two bandits were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left.

Meditation: (One25 Organisation & prostitution)

O God, who in Jesus is stripped naked before the mocking eyes of the world, who in Jesus is nailed and crucified in sacred communion with all whom the powerful crucify for their own ends: challenge us both to wrap in love and reverence all who are stripped of their human dignity, and to raise our voices in protest against the abuse of our brothers and sisters

Eleventh Station:  Mary and John at the Foot of the Cross John 19:25-27

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. Seeing his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, ‘Woman, this is your son.’ Then to the disciple he said, ‘This is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.                                                                                                    

Meditation: (Mary of Compassion)

O God, who gives us Mary, Mother of the Lord and Mother of the Church, to be Mother to all whom the world makes victims and outcasts: grace us always with Mary’s compassion that we like her might embrace a guilty world with love and mercy 

Twelfth Station: Jesus hangs between the Two Thieves Luke 23. 39-43

One of the criminals hanging there abused him: ‘Are you not the Christ?  Save yourself and us as well’. But the other spoke up and rebuked him. ‘Have you no fear of God at all?’  he said. ‘You got the same sentence as he did but in our case we deserved it:  we are paying for what we did. But this man has done nothing wrong.’     Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’  He answered him, ‘In truth I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.’

Meditation: (breaking the cycles of violence with forgiveness)

O God, who in Jesus chose the guilty as your companions in death and embraced the condemned with a mercy and forgiveness that opens to all the gates of hope on earth and of paradise in heaven: make us a community of compassion, understanding and forgiveness

Thirteenth Station: Jesus dies John 19:  28-30                     

After this, Jesus knew that everything had now been completed and, so that the scripture should be completely fulfilled, he said:’I am thirsty’.A jar full of sour wine stood there; so, putting a sponge soaked in the wine on a hyssop  stick, they held it up to his mouth.After Jesus had taken the wine he said, ‘It is fulfilled’; and bowing his head,he gave up his spirit.

Mediation: (silence)

O God, who in Jesus is swallowed up by death in order the destroy death forever: help us to die to ourselves that others might come alive and empower us to challenge the culture of death and vengeance with the Gospel of Life and forgiveness 

Fourteenth Station:  Jesus Rises form the Tomb John 12: 28-30

 Jesus replied to them: Now the hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified.    In all truth I tell you, unless a wheat grain falls into the earth and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies it yields a rich harvest. Anyone who loves his life loses it; anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me, must follow me, and my servant will be with me wherever I am. If anyone serves me, my Father will honour him…  Now my soul is troubled. What shall I say: Father, save me from this hour? But it is for this very reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name!   A voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will again glorify it.’

 or also add John 12.29-32

The crowd standing by, who heard this, said it was a clap of thunder; others said, ‘It was an angel speaking to him.’ Jesus answered, ‘It was not for my sake that this voice came, but for yours. ‘Now sentence is being passed on this world; now the prince of this world is to be driven out.  And when I am lifted up from the earth, I shall draw all people to myself.

Meditation: (waiting in hope)

O God, who in Jesus is the seed that falls into the ground and dies to give birth a People of Hope: may we be Your seeds of Hope sown into the ground of our world; and give us the courage to stand before every darkness in the Light of the Resurrection 

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