The Stations of the Cross are on display in the Great Hall throughout Holy Week.
1. Jesus is condemned to Death.
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 Pontius Pilate. 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. He took some water and washed his hands, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” Then he handed Jesus over to them to be crucified.
Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent, but he sent him to be killed anyway. He tried to make himself feel better by washing his hands and saying that he was innocent.
Think about whether you would be brave enough to speak up for Jesus. Or, would you join the people who testified falsely against Him? Would you be too afraid to speak?
The poster for the first station was made by the Middle School class to represent Mark 15: 6-15
Now at the festival [Pontius Pilate] used to release a prisoner for them, anyone for whom they asked. Now a man called Barabbas was in prison with the rebels who had committed murder during the insurrection. So the crowd came and began to ask Pilate to do for them according to his custom. Then [Pilate] answered them, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” For he realized that it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had handed him over. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead. 12Pilate spoke to them again, “Then what do you wish me to do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” They shouted back, “Crucify him!” Pilate asked them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him!” So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.
Jesus went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which is called Golgotha (pronounced: GAHLguh- thuh). The soldiers made fun of Jesus by wrapping him in a purple cloak and putting a crown made of thorns on his head. They spit on him and called him “King of the Jews!” Through it all, Jesus was silent. He took up the cross and carried it.
The “crown of thorns” was made by children in 2014.
Jesus, even though he was in the form of God, did not think that being equal to God was the most important thing. Instead he emptied himself, took the form of a servant, and was born as a human. And in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. For that reason, God has highly exalted him, and has given him the name which is above every name.
Sometimes, we feel very weak, or very sad, just as Jesus did after carrying the cross for such a long way. Others times, we feel confused or unsure. Jesus understands our needs.
Imagine you are walking down Franklin Street on a difficult day. You are reading the posters tacked to telephone poles and see this.
To what can I compare you, O daughter of Jerusalem?
What image can I use to comfort you, O Mary?
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 end.
There are times when we feel as sad as we have ever been. Sometimes, we do not even know what is causing us to feel so sad. But Mary knew why she was sad. It is so hard for a mother to watch her child suffer. It is even harder when she knows that her child has done nothing wrong. Can you imagine how Mary must have felt, watching Jesus – Love itself – on this final journey?
The pebbles in this bottle represent tears. If you are mourning or worried or feeling sad, you can add a tear, along with a quiet prayer. Remember that the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall end.
As they led Jesus away, they came upon a man of Cyrene, named Simon. They laid the cross on him to carry it behind Jesus. It reminds us of something Jesus had already told his friends. “If anyone would be my follower, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Share my burden with me. You learn from me how to carry a load, and with me the way is easy and the load is light.”
There are a lot of people who are in need, who are lonely or sad or hungry. As Christians, we are called to support those in need. Like Simon of Cyrene, we help carry a heavy load and share a burden.
Jesus was despised and rejected by men; He was a man of sorrow who knew grief. People would not look at him, but hid their faces. Veronica, however, wiped Jesus’ face to comfort him. Her actions told him of her love.
The Fourth and Fifth grade class created this prayer station. Write a prayer on the cloth. Let the cloth remind you of Veronica and the kindness and comfort she showed. Place the prayer on the cross, as Veronica placed the cloth on Jesus’ face.
On Easter, these private prayers will be replaced with flowers of hope and joy.
Have you ever been very, very thirsty? Jesus was given no water as he walked on the road towards Golgotha. He was thirsty and tired and he fell for a second time.
Imagine you are on a walk – a long, dry, dusty walk. You are tired and thirsty, and you are so weak that you fall. Run your fingers through the sand. Know that Jesus understands your fatigue and pain.
Many people followed behind Jesus, and among them were women who cried and screamed for him, but Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.”
Jesus told the women not to worry about him, but to take care of others, especially the children.
Did you know that Jesus may have been born in a cave and not a stable? The land around Bethlehem was hilly and rocky and had many caves.
Much later in his life – the night before he died, in fact – Jesus went to a garden to pray. Peter, James, and John were with him for company, but they kept falling asleep. Jesus was alone and afraid and very, very sad. Perhaps he leaned against one of the rocks in the garden. Perhaps he knelt down by the rock, or rested his arms on it. Perhaps he laid his head on the rock, and his tears washed over it.
Jesus prayed to God that his burden could be lifted, that ‘the cup could be removed’ from him. But the soldiers came to the garden to arrest Jesus and they took him before the chief priest and elders. He was condemned to death and he walked, barefoot, carrying his cross over stony streets.
The path Jesus walked was rocky. And he fell three times.
What rocky paths have you walked? What hard times have caused your tears? This station was created by middle school students to assure us that we all experience hard and rocky time.
When they came to a place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull), they offered him wine to drink, mingled with a bitter and poisonous herb called gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. They divided his garments among themselves by rolling dice for them. This fulfilled the scripture which says, “They divided my garments among them; they cast lots for my clothing.”
The dice were made in 2012 to represent the tenth station.
When they came to the place which is called The Skull, they crucified him; and with him they crucified two criminals, one on the right, the other on the left, and Jesus between them. The scripture was fulfilled which says, “He was numbered with the evildoers.”
This cross was created by the middle school church school class. They have left their finger prints on it to remind us that we are all part of this sad story.
When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, “He will be your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “She will be your mother!” Then he said, “It is finished!” And crying with a loud voice, he said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” He bowed his head, and handed over his spirit and the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.
In the Gospel of Matthew, the very last thing that Jesus said was “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Those words are from Psalm 22:1 and might be confusing if you don’t know the whole psalm.
Mary says, “All who pass me, behold and see if there is any sorrow as bad as my sorrow. My eyes are exhausted with weeping; my soul is confused; my heart is poured out in grief. Do not call me Naomi (which means Pleasant), call me Mara (which means Bitter); for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.”
This moment, sometimes called The Lamentation, has often been depicted in great works of art. One of the most famous is the Pieta by Michelangelo, which is in the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome. The sculpture is made of marble and it is the only piece of his art that Michelangelo ever signed.
Feel a piece of smooth marble and imagine how Michelangelo felt, a chisel in his hand, as he worked for two years to create is beautiful but sad masterpiece. Listen to the music as you feel the marble. It is Gioachino Rossini’s Stabat Mater, which is a hymn to Mary in her sorrow.
When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea (pronounced ehr-uh-muh-THEE-uh), named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body, and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock; and he rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb.
The stations end here, with Jesus laid in the tomb. It is a hard ending, as hard as the stone of the tomb. But we know that it is not the end of the story. We know that Easter is coming and we know that the great mystery of Easter is how Jesus came alive again and is with us in all times and all places…
This station reminds us that the story is not over, that the best part is still to come.
The first grade class used Legos to build the cave that served as Jesus’ tomb. When we teach our children the story of Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection, we also teach a story of Love and Hope.