Bright Sadness: Walking the Stations of the Cross in Quarantine

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As the Covid-19 pandemic and Lent intermingle, these words of Father John Breck feel poignant.

“Bright sadness may be the most powerful and important experience we can know. It brings to our mind and heart, in the most direct and personal way, the ultimate purpose of our life and the object or end of our most passionate desire. It reminds us of who we are, as beloved children of God, created in His image and invited to glorify and enjoy Him forever. That conflicted emotion of bright sadness is a blessed gift, bestowed by the God who loves us with a love without limit.”

Because most of us are not able to physically go to a church or monastery to walk the stations of the cross this year, I hope that these mediations will serve as a beautiful companion to you as we draw closer to Easter.  May they whisper in your ear the love of God whose love is without limit.

How to Virtually Walk the Stations of the Cross 

This guide includes BOTH and audio meditations and written meditations.

There are 14 stations. If you are listening during Holy Week, consider walking two stations per day. Each audio meditation is between 10-15 minutes long (see playlist above). Each written meditation will take around 30 minutes depending on the pace of the leader.

If you prefer to lead these meditations yourself with your community, you may access the written meditation guide which has been made public HERE on Google Drive.

If you are praying the stations during Holy Week, consider walking two stations per day. Or you may also to choose to listen the whole way through a few times to experience the full journey. It’s recommended that you pause for prayer after each station and  journal your response.

For listeners who are not Christians, you are welcome to walk along. These readings will introduce you to the central story of the Christian faith. Though it may seem contrary to the “Hollywood” love story, I hope these meditations will reveal the self-denying love that guides our faith.

Why Follow the Way of the Cross?

For the follower of Jesus, the cross invites us to the hard work of laying ourselves down. To lay our old ways, our burdens, our wounds, our dreams, our anxieties at the foot of the cross. To see them buried in the tomb in order that new life can come forth. Jesus said that a seed of wheat must first be buried in the ground and die in order for it to bring forth the life that will bear fruit.

At the heart of this journey is the message of love.

It’s difficult to engage the sorrow, suffering, and violence while walking with Jesus toward the darkness. But through the journey we discover that there is no greater love than that which would lay itself down for others.

This self-giving love of Christ transforms and revitalizes us as we follow the way of the cross. It reminds us of who we are, as the beloved children of God, created in His image and invited to enjoy his presence forever.

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* SPECIAL NOTE ON STATION 10

In Station 10, we meditate on a work of art entitled “White Crucifixion” by Marc Chagall. Please follow this link to view the image.

The 14 Stations of the Cross

1. Passion: Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-46)

2. Betrayal: Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested (Mark 14: 41-52)

3. Condemnation/Mockery: Jesus is condemned by the Sanhedrin (Luke 22:66-71)

4. Denial: Peter denies Jesus (Luke 22:54-62)

5. Judgement: Jesus is judged by Pilate (Mark 15: 1-15)

6. Scourge: Jesus is scourged and crowned with thorns (John 19:2-3)

7. Burden: The King takes up his cross (John 19:17)

8. Fall: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry his cross (Luke 23:26)

9. Sorrow: Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem (Luke 23:27-31)

10. Wounds: Jesus is stripped and crucified (John 19:34-37)

11. Thirst: Jesus says, “I thirst” (John 19:28-29)

12. Love/Grief: Jesus on the cross, his mother and his disciple (John 19:25-27)

13. Death: Death of Jesus (Mark 15:33-35)

14. Tomb: Jesus is placed in the tomb (Luke 23:50-56)

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*Artful Scripture reading by Cody Wood.

*Art for the Stations provided by Holly Leonard and the Veritas Arts Collective.

*These meditations were developed for the Veritas Community Church Lenten Vesper Services. Special thanks to the Vespers leadership team: Megan Blum, Lauren Raper, Charlotte Schermerhorn, Neil Leonard, Holly Leonard, Jacob Boyer, and Pastors Joe Byler and Parris Payden.

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