2011 Stations of the Cross Pilgrimage - Launde Abbey
last updated on: 28th Jun 2011
As Jesus is condemned to death, think of His fear as you examine this black cross.
Jesus is standing before angry people who are yelling and saying mean, hurtful things to him. They scream at him. Some of them tell lies about him, saying that he did bad things.
But Jesus stays quiet, even though he knows that he will be hurt. He knows that God is with him. He even asks God to help him forgive the people who are yelling and telling lies about him.
Has anyone ever said mean or hurtful things about you, or has anyone ever told a lie about you? If someone did that to you, look at your heart and see how you felt. Maybe you were scared, or hurt, or maybe you felt very angry. Perhaps you want to ask Jesus to help you to remember that God is always with you.
A cross leaning over to one side. How heavy was the cross that Jesus bore?
Jesus takes up his Cross
When the soldiers put a big, heavy cross on Jesus' shoulders, Jesus doesn't fight with them or say angry words to them. He knows that he has to carry this cross a long way, and he knows that the way will be very hard for him at times. But Jesus knows that God is with him, and he asks God to help him to carry this cross, even though it is heavy.
Have you ever had something happen that was very hard for you? Sometimes children are very sick, or someone in their family is very sick. Sometimes adults or older children do not treat younger children nicely. Sometimes we just can't have things the way we want them. When that happens we remember that it wasn’t easy for Jesus the Son of God either.
Look carefully at this cross. What is it you see that signifies Christ falling for the first time?
Jesus is so tired as he walks along the road with the heavy cross on his shoulders. The cross keeps pushing into his shoulder, and the stones on the road hurt his feet. People yell and push him; the soldiers shout for him to move faster. They’ve got a lot of people to crucify today! Then Jesus falls, and the soldiers yell at him even more.
Did you ever fall when you were playing, or when you were helping with something? Falling really hurts, doesn't it? Poor Jesus. He had to get up and carry on.
Meeting his Mother, Mary, and a love strong and unwavering. The wind can blow through this cross. How desolute she must have felt on seeing her son.
As Jesus walks slowly with the cross on his shoulders, a woman comes up to him. It’s Jesus’ mother, Mary. How sad for them to see each other now. Mary feels so sad because she sees how much he is suffering, and Jesus sees the sadness Mary feels. Even though they both know that God is with them, they can’t even say anything to each other, because they are so sad.
Have you ever been very sad, or do you know someone who has been very sad? Being sad can really hurt someone's heart a lot, can’t it? Sometimes our hearts are sad because we cannot be with someone we love. Remember that Mary knew that feeling too.
Who helped Jesus to carry his cross? The steel here symbolises strength.
Jesus is so tired that the soldiers know he cannot carry the heavy cross by himself. So they look around and see someone who looks strong enough to help Jesus carry this cross. This person's name is Simon. Together they continue on the long road, carrying the cross through the hot, dusty streets.
Sometimes helping someone can be difficult, for so many different reasons. Maybe you haven't finished something that you like to do, when someone asks you for help. Or maybe you just don't feel like helping that person. Can you think of a time when you were asked to help someone and did not want to help? Perhaps you could ask Jesus to help you to have a helping heart like his?
Veronica wipes His face. This thinner cross depicts His weakening body.
Jesus is hot, tired, and sweating. His hair is all tangled, and he is covered in dust from the long walk.Suddenly, a woman called Veronica pushes her way out of the crowd and stands in front of Jesus. She takes a clean cloth and gently wipes Jesus’ face. They say that he left a picture of his face on her cloth.
Have you helped someone feel better? Maybe you’ve done something that you thought was very small or unimportant: bringing a glass of water or juice to someone, or even giving someone a helping hand with a chore. Maybe you just smiled at someone who looked sad! But sometimes those little ways of caring mean a lot to the other person.
Again, look at the cross and what signifies Jesus falling for the second time.
Now Jesus is very tired,and weak, and sad. Even though he keeps trying to walk with the heavy cross, he just can’t keep going. The noise from the crowd and from the soldiers makes him feel even worse. Then Jesus falls, because he just can’t take another step.
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 something up? How do you feel when that happens? You want to give up, don’t you? To forget it. But Jesus couldn’t forget it. The soldiers forced him to get up and carry on.
The tears of the women. Stand a while and contemplate this unusual cross!
After Jesus gets up, he continues on the road carrying his heavy cross. He 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, and especially to take care of their children.
Sometimes it is easy to just think about ourselves -- about what is not going the way we want it to, or about problems that we have. It is very hard, then, to think about other people. Remember that when other people are unkind to you. Maybe they are hurting too much too and just can’t think about you or be kind to you.
In this third of the series, why has the wood darkened and what signifies Him falling for the third time?
Jesus falls for the 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, uphill, stoney road in the blazing hot sun, and he has no energy left. He just can’t go on anymore.
He falls down in the street for the third time. He is so absolutely exhausted. Eventually, the soldiers manage to make him get up again, but how much longer can he go on?
When we have really tried to do our best, and have not managed to succeed, it is easy to feel like Jesus did. Sometimes other people just keep yelling about something we do, or sometimes other people make fun of the way we do something. Next time it happens, remember that Jesus has felt just the same as you do.
Look closely, can you see a face and ribs? Contemplate the cruelty Jesus is about to endure.
At last Jesus reaches the hill that is the end of the road he has to walk. Jesus knows that he will die here. But before he dies, the soldiers do more horrible things to him. They pull off his long robe, and all his clothes are taken from him and shared out. Jesus has to stand in front of the crowd with nothing on.
Have you ever had important things taken from you? Have you been made to feel stupid or worthless? Be careful to never make anyone else feel so bad, won’t you?
The starkest of crosses, set away at the top of the wood - and the nails that were used .... why red?
I can’t imagine how much it hurt Jesus when the soldiers nailed him to the cross. It must have hurt all over. And he is completely tired out, and very thirsty; he knows that he is going to die. But he looks at the people who have hurt him and, instead of saying bad things to them, Jesus asks God to forgive them!
Then he looks at his mother and tells her to take care of his friend; and tells his friend to take care of his mother as if she were his own mother. Even when he is dying, Jesus is thinking of other people.
Can you think of a time when someone hurt you with unkind words or actions? Was it hard for you to forgive that person? With Jesus’ help we can try to forgive as he forgave.
Jesus hanging on the cross.
Now, after that long, excruciating walk, after falling three times, after having the soldiers beat him up and people make fun of him and call him names, and after being nailed to the cross, now Jesus hangs there in the hottest part of the day, suffering on the cross.
Did you ever feel that you wanted to make something better, or that if you only tried harder, something would change that you want to change? Or maybe you felt that you did not try hard enough at something, and something bad happened. That must be how the disciples felt as Jesus hung on that Cross. Sometimes in life, we feel powerless, like Jesus and those who cared for him. Sometimes we just have to trust God that everything will turn out OK in the end.
Jesus dies on the cross. From the base, followi the clear lines of this polished aluminium cross to the top and beyond!
Jesus bows his head and dies. Now his life is over. There is nothing left for Jesus to give or to do. Those cruel nails have killed him. Jesus has given his life for all of us.It’s the end. So what’s left?
Is there someone you love who has died? It makes your heart feel as if it broken doesn’t it? Is it the end?
As you contemplate this driftwood cross, consider how we are tossed and turned by the fleeting chances we have in this world. Consider too, how His body was broken for us.
Now Jesus’ lifeless body 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. Her heart is broken. And how sad Jesus’ friends are. They are crying too as they hold his body.
Jesus’ friends wash his body and wrap it in a clean sheet. They touch his body gently, and then 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.
Now there is darkness in the tomb where Jesus’ body lies, and all of his friends go home because they are very sad and tired.
Can you remember a time when you were very sad to say “Good-bye” to someone? Maybe you were leaving the person for only a short time, or maybe it was for a long time. Saying goodbye can really hurt, can’t it? Mary and Jesus’ friends had to say goodbye for ever. They trudge home, crying and miserable.
The Risen Christ as His arms embrace us with joy!
What a wonderful surprise for Jesus’ Mother and friends when they see that he is alive! His body is like a new kind of body -- full of light! And he is no longer tired, sad, or suffering. He has no more pain. He is alive in a new and special way. Jesus will live forever, now, in this new and special way. And now he can be everywhere, with everyone! He’s here, now, with us. He’s always with you wherever you go. He understands all your problems – he’s experienced all the pain of life on earth – and he can help! He longs to come into your lives and help you today and always. Remember that. Jesus loves you – you are precious to him.
So let us say “Thanks” to God for our lives and for the wonderful things we can see, hear, feel, taste, or smell. For our families and friends. And most of all, for being with us – walking alongside us all the days of our life.
Father God, we thank you that you love us so much that you sent your Son to help us and journey with us. Today we will journey with him and remember those last hours of his life.
Lord Jesus, we thank you that you lived a life as one of us so that you could help us, that you were born as a baby in a poor family, that you taught us how to live, and that you were willing to die for us.
Holy Spirit, we thank you that you delight to live in us, and to make us more like Jesus. We thank you that you remain with us as we travel the path of life.
Almighty God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, give us humble and thankful hearts now as we share together that walk Jesus made to the Cross. Amen.
Prayers of hope
Jesus, born in a stable
Bring hope to the homeless
Jesus, child of Mary and Joseph
Bring hope to all families
Jesus, light of the world
Bring hope to this world’s dark places.
Jesus, bearer of peace
Bring hope where there is war.
Jesus, who fled to another country
Bring hope to all refugees.
Jesus who was hungry in the desert
Bring hope to the starving and poor.
Jesus, who showed us how to live
Bring hope to the church that bears your name.
Jesus who loved everyone
Bring love into our hearts that we may love too.
Jesus, who reached out to hold us
Bring healing and love to all in need.
Jesus who died for us
Bring hope to a broken world.
Jesus, Son of God, Messiah,
Bring hope now and forever. Amen.
The Christian journey:
Lord, be a bright flame before us,
Lord, be a guiding star above us,
Lord, be a smooth path below me,
Lord, be a kindly shepherd behind us,
today, tonight and forever. Amen.