A custom of our Christian tradition is to keep vigil with Christ at different times and in different ways during Holy Week. One of the places from which we draw this custom is Jesus’ request to his disciples to keep watch while he prayed and agonized in the Garden of Gethsemane. We also know that there were those few—including Mary Magdalene, Jesus’ mother Mary, and the apostle John—who stayed near the cross and kept watch as Jesus suffered and died. Despite the horror of what was taking place, those most intimate with Jesus stayed with him to the end.
Walking and praying through the stations of the cross is one way we can keep vigil with Christ during these holy days. Traditionally, there are fourteen Stations of the Cross—most of them taken directly from Scripture, along with a few that have been passed down in Christian tradition.
This episode is based on An Invitation to Walk with Christ: Stations of the Cross Prayer Guide by Ruth Haley Barton. Special thanks to Steve Wiens for the production of the bonus episode.
Enhance your experience and pray along with us…
SOME IDEAS TO HELP YOU PREPARE:
- Plan for the service to take about an hour and fifteen minutes, including a 15 minute meditation on the practice of praying the stations of the cross, along with a few simple instructions.
- Review the comments below to gain a sense of who you are praying with; add your own name if you wish, letting us know where you will be praying. It is a strength and an encouragement to know we are praying with so many from around the world.
- Consider creating a simple “altar” with a cross, a candle you can light before beginning the service, and any other symbol you that might be meaningful to you and your family.
- If you would like to participate in the prayers and responses, receive a downloadable Order of Service (text only) when you make a donation of any amount.*
- In order to avoid awkwardness, make a decision ahead of time with your group about whether or not you will join in the singing of the hymns. Lyrics are included and we have intentionally chosen versions that are simple and easy to follow.
- The service will conclude in an open-ended way with the extinguishing of the candle. Decide ahead of time who will do this and how your group will conclude. For example, you could agree that all will leave silently in order to spend time alone in quiet and even journaling about Jesus has said to them at each station. Or it could be that there was one station individuals want to return to and linger with for awhile.
*Due to the fact that our online store is currently closed, we are offering these resources for a donation to cover our costs.
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Ruth Haley Barton
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Lead me to Calvary performed by Don Moen, from the album Hymns of Hope
Were you There, performed by The Vigil Project (featuring Andrea Thomas), from the album Vigil, Series 1
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, performed by Sandra McCracken, from the album She Reads Truth: Hymns
New Way to Live written by Joel Hanson. I am New written by Joel Hanson and Jason Gray.
©Ruth Haley Barton, 2020. Adapted from An Invitation to Walk with Christ: Stations of the Cross Prayer Guide.