The Way of the Cross A Lenten Study of the Stations through Path, Prayer and Promise

The Way of the Cross A Lenten Study of the Stations through Path, Prayer and Promise 2016 St. Michael s Episcopal Church 8706 Quaker Lane Bon Air, VA 1 St. Michael s welcomes you
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The Way of the Cross A Lenten Study of the Stations through Path, Prayer and Promise 2016 St. Michael s Episcopal Church 8706 Quaker Lane Bon Air, VA 1 St. Michael s welcomes you and invites you to join us in a Lenten practice exploring the fourteen steps of the Stations of the Cross. You will find a day devoted to each Station (Path), followed by a day of a reading to enhance your contemplation of the Station (Prayer), then a day of reflection and practical ways to put Christ s love into action (Promise). It looks like this: Path The journey we take with Jesus on his way to the cross Prayer Scripture, poetry and supplications to reflect upon as we meet Jesus on this journey Promise A reflection and ideas of ways to incorporate into daily life the covenant we make with God on our own faith journey On Sundays, you will find the appropriate scripture readings for the Stations and will be invite to reread them on the days of Promise. Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:2 2 Lent 2016 Dear friends, As you enter this Holy Season of Lent, I invite you engage in this thoughtful journey with Jesus on the Way of the Cross. St. Michael s spiritual theme this year is Pilgrimage We are Pilgrims on a Journey. For Lent, the Pilgrimage theme explores When the Road is Hard. During our mediations we explore that very hard road Jesus travelled as he was condemned to die and hung on a cross for the salvation of humanity. Remembering and reflecting on Jesus final journey will help us reflect on the difficult roads we sometimes must travel, and how God is there with us. I am grateful to Katy McGrann for her creative efforts in developing this resource, in curating the poems and thoughts of other writers, and for offering her own reflections on the Promise of putting Christ s love into action. Besides using this Lenten devotional, I invite you to engage in the other Lenten offerings at St. Michael s. Sign up to illustrate one of the 14 stations yourself through Creating Art as Prayer (display outside office) and come to the Soup supper and Opening on March 12th. Participate in one of our four Pilgrim Groups, and share your spiritual journey with others through study and fellowship. Worship at our Lenten Choral Evensong Feb. 21st at 4:30. Engage fully in Sunday and Holy Week worship. May you find God s Promises on your Path this Lent. 3 [Services at 7:00 am / 12 noon / 7:00 pm] Ash Wednesday, February 10 First Station Jesus is condemned to death We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. As soon as it was morning, the chief priests, with the elders and scribes, and the whole council, held a consultation; and they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him to Pilate. And they all condemned him and said, He deserves to die. When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. Then he handed Jesus over to them to be crucified. V. God did not spare his own Son: R. But delivered him up for us all. Let us pray. (Silence) Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen. Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One, Have mercy upon us. 4 Thursday, February 11 Jesus before Pilate said nothing. And the governor marveled greatly. He says to himself: one does not meet up with this kind of man every day. What pleasure it would have given me to discuss ideas with him, if my official duties did not preclude such things! He eyes Jesus with longing. But his right hand clasps the knob of the armrest, a reminder of the sphere of the Empire whose faithful and no doubt well-payed official he is. And then, there is Caiaphas, swollen with hatred under his priestly robes, unwilling to let pass this opportunity to unite the skepticism of the Sadducees with the hypocrisy of the Pharisees against the Son of Man. And last of all, there is the mob, calling for Barabbas, that good fellow who already has one foot outside the prison while the carpenters are finishing the cross within. Government, Clergy, Populace: before these three powers, Pilate has only to wash his hands. Everyone here is the prisoner of his office, of his façade, and everyone looks through his mask at the only one who wears no mask, the only one who in fact is one, who looks into the center of his being and sees the living truth: that truth whose name alone so utterly absorbs poor Pontius Pilate. Rene Daumal, translated from the French by Katherine Washburn 5 Friday, February 12 Whom do we condemn, and how do we wash our hands? There are times in our lives when we condemn our fellow travelers on this path from birth to death. Whether it is judging others because of their transgressions or the circumstances of their lives, or worse, ignoring them all together, we sometimes turn a blind eye to those who need our love and compassion. We wash our hands of people or ideas that make us feel uncomfortable. Make a promise today to meet people where they are on their life s path, without judgment or scorn, and to open your heart and theirs to the compassion and redemption offered through a relationship with Jesus. Read Luke 23:24, Mark 15:1-15 and Matthew 27: Saturday, February 13 Second Station Jesus takes up his Cross We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. Jesus went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. Like a lamb he was led to the slaughter; and like a sheep that before its shearers is mute, so he opened not his mouth. Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing. V. The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all: R. For the transgression of my people was he stricken. Let us pray. (Silence) Almighty God, whose beloved Son willingly endured the agony and shame of the cross for our redemption: Give us courage to take up our cross and follow him; who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen. Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One, Have mercy upon us. 7 Sunday, February 14 John 19:5 Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe; Pilate said to them, Here is the man! John 19:13-17 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour. Here is your king, Pilate said to the Jews. But they shouted, Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him! Shall I crucify your king? Pilate asked. We have no king but Caesar, the chief priests answered. Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! Isaiah 53:4-7 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. 8 Monday, February 15 When many Christians from the west talk about taking up the cross and following the Lord, they convey the impression that it is like an executive briefcase, easily picked up and carried by a convenient handle. But the cross that Jesus took up and carried was awkward and clumsy, ungainly and unwieldy. It had to be slowly dragged, pulled up steps, hoisted along by a man staggering under its weight, walking almost blind with exhaustion by the time he got to the end of the road. There was no handle to the cross. If this was God s way of solving the human problem, it certainly went counter to all human ways of problem-solving we may devise. It was the slowest, most inefficient, unsuccessful method that could possibly have been devised. But the peasants of Africa or Latin America, crouched under their load of poverty, the Bantu of Southern Africa, stumbling over the clumsy mass of discrimination at every step, can recognize and understand the God that is bound under that weight of wood. They don t mind that this solution to the problems takes longer than the plans and panaceas in our efficient briefcases, for they have seen in him a savior who is not only for them, but with them. Kosuke Koyama 9 Tuesday, February 16 What are our crosses and how do we carry them? We often feel so encumbered by the burdens of this life that we forget Jesus s own suffering. Because we like to feel in control, we sometimes try so hard to fix things that we make a situation worse. Or the situation really is horrible and tragic, and we despair what the future will bring: Why me, Lord, why me? or Why did this happen to such a good person? In these moments we might remember that Jesus suffered, as we suffer, but he also walks with us to help carry our burdens. It is not easy, and often painful, but we are not alone. Make a promise today to allow Jesus to ease your load, and by doing so, learn to help ease the load of another. Read John 19:13-17 and John 19:5. (page 8) 10 Wednesday, February 17 Third Station Jesus falls the first time We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped; but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, and was born in human likeness. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him, and bestowed on him the name which is above every name. Come, let us bow down, and bend the knee, and kneel before the Lord our Maker, for he is the Lord our God. V. Surely he has borne our griefs: R. And carried our sorrows. Let us pray. (Silence) O God, you know us to be set in the midst of so many and great dangers, that by reason of the frailty of our nature we cannot always stand upright: Grant us such strength and protection as may support us in all dangers, and carry us through all temptations; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One, Have mercy upon us. 11 Thursday, February 18 I will come to you, Lord, with the heavy day on my shoulders. I have done my simple duty; I could not continue on my knees, but I was walking and working. I call to you from the depths of tiredness that surrounds me now and at the end of each day. I offer you all the simple tasks that I must daily repeat. I offer you too all that my neighbor does. I offer you my transient life, my sorrows and my joys. I offer you my weary feet and my tired hands. An anonymous Polish poet 12 Friday, February 19 What does it mean to be a servant leader? Many classes and courses teach the way of the Servant Leader. But what does it actually mean? Do we humble ourselves to the point of abuse? Do we completely ignore our own needs and desires? How do we find the family/work balance that makes us want to be servant leaders, instead of approaching our tasks begrudgingly? As always, Jesus leads by example: who is in front of us, and what do they need in this moment? A hot meal or hot cup of coffee, clean clothes or a clean body, an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on, a $5 bill or a quarter to make a phone call there are many ways to be a servant leader that don t involve grand gestures. And sometimes, it means allowing another person to be a servant leader to us. Make a promise today to meet people where they are and figure out how you might fill a need. You might also find that you need to accept the help of another servant leader. Read John 1:29, Isaiah 53:4-7 and Matthew 11: (page 8) 13 Saturday, February 20 Fourth Station Jesus meets his afflicted mother We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. To what can I liken you, to what can I compare you, O daughter of Jerusalem? What likeness can I use to comfort you, O virgin daughter of Zion? For vast as the sea is your ruin. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. The Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended. V. A sword will pierce your own soul also: R. And fill your heart with bitter pain. Let us pray. (Silence) O God, who willed that in the passion of your Son a sword of grief should pierce the soul of the Blessed Virgin Mary his mother: Mercifully grant that your Church, having shared with her in his passion, may be made worthy to share in the joys of his resurrection; who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen. Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One, Have mercy upon us. 14 Sunday, February 21 [Choral Evensong for Lent 4:30 pm] Lamentations 1:12 Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look around and see. Is any suffering like my suffering that was inflicted on me, that the Lord brought on me in the day of his fierce anger? John 19:25-27 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, Dear woman, here is your son, and to the disciple, Here is your mother. From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. Mark 15:21 A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. Mark 8:34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 2 Timothy 2:3 Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. Matthew 27:32 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. 15 Monday, February 22 My own heart s blood, My Christ on the cross, Where are you, where have they laid you? Are you under arrest or under the soil? God let you be in my womb and I carried you nine long months; they snatch you from my womb and me they abandoned maimed. The way of the cross, of Herod or Pilate, is the way of cruelty and the washing of hands. But the way they thought to be ending in Calvary dissolved in resurrection, in a shroud and an empty tomb. The way of my cross through prisons and processes takes me nowhere except to the Plaza de Mayo. Passer-by, unheeding and silently unaware: tell me if there be any grief as great as a bodiless burial. Tell me and do not pass by Nor wash your hands! Do not forget there are other Christs, the victims of new crucifixions! And Mary, his mother, is present again in the Plaza de Mayo. ~An anonymous Argentinian poet 16 Tuesday, February 23 How do we comfort those who have lost a child? Could there be any grief greater than that of a parent who has lost a child? Through miscarriage, sudden infant death syndrome, cancer, genetic anomaly, overdose, accident, abuse there are so many dangers and risks that worry every parent, from the time the baby is born. Mary was no different than other parent, as she watched her son grow, prosper, suffer and die. In the Gospel of John we read: But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus then saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, Woman, behold, your son! Then he said to the disciple, Behold, your mother! From that hour the disciple took her into his own household. Jesus is telling us to embrace those who grieve, to grieve with them, and to adopt them as our own. Make a promise today to spend time with those who have lost loved ones, particularly children, and to sit with them in their grief, remembering those who ve been lost. Perhaps volunteer at your local school or hospital, to honor those you remember. Read Luke 2:25-40, Lamentations 1:12 and John 19: (page 15) 17 Wednesday, February 24 Fifth Station The Cross is laid on Simon of Cyrene We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. As they led Jesus away, they came upon a man of Cyrene, Simon by name, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross to carry it behind Jesus. If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. V. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me: R. Cannot be my disciple. Let us pray. (Silence) Heavenly Father, whose blessed Son came not to be served but to serve: Bless all who, following in his steps, give themselves to the service of others; that with wisdom, patience, and courage, they may minister in his Name to the suffering, the friendless, and the needy; for the love of him who laid down his life for us, your Son our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One, Have mercy upon us. 18 Thursday, February 25 I was on my way to the fields when I saw him carrying his cross; and multitudes were following him. Then I too walked beside him. His burden stopped him many a time, for his body was exhausted. Then a Roman soldier approached me saying, Come, you are strong and firmly built; carry the cross of this man. When I heard those words my heart swelled within me and I was grateful. And I carried his cross. He asked me if I was able to drink from his cup, and so saying he placed his hand on my free shoulder. And we walked together toward the hill of the skull. But now I felt not the weight of the cross. I felt only his hand. And it was like the wing of a bird upon my shoulder. Then we reached the hilltop, and there they were to crucify him. And then I felt the weight of the tree Should they say to me again, Carry the cross of this man, I would carry it till my road ended at the grave This happened many years ago; and still whenever I follow that furrow in the field, and in that drowsy moment before I sleep, I think always of that Beloved Man. And I feel his winged hand, here, on my left shoulder. Kahlil Gibran 19 Friday, February 26 Are we willing and able to bear the cross of another? How many times have we said, I wish I could take your place or I wish this was happening to me, and not you. In literature and the movies, we see it when the redeemed sinner takes the place of the wrongly convicted. In everyday life, it might be as simple as saying, Let me help you with that overwhelming project. Obviously, there are times when we cannot step in: we can t go through chemo or detox for a friend; we can t face a judge for an illegal act; we can t even offer ourselves up for jury duty in place of another. What we can do is stay beside those who are enduring hardship
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