Stations of the Cross – A Practice During Lent

During the season of Lent we take a journey with Jesus. We start in the wilderness where he overcame the economic (“turn these stones into bread”) temptation, the religious (“throw yourself off the temple”) temptation, and political (“give you all the kingdoms of this world”) temptation. Then we walk with him on the way to the cross.  It is during this time in the Christian Calendar that we take some time to examine our life in light of the cross.

One of the ways we can do this is by observing an ancient practice where we meaningfully connect with Jesus in the last moments of his life.  This ancient practice is called The Stations of the Cross.

It started with St. Francis of Assisi and has continued to our day. It is being practiced by an increasing amount of Christ followers all around the world. Walking through the stations of the cross is a devotional exercise.  During this time we affirm our solidarity with Christ. We experience his love afresh as we consider what he went through on our behalf, and we not only meditate on what it means to carry our crosses, but use this time to engage in habits that help us live sacrificial cross-shaped lives.  For Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it (Luke 9:23-24 NIV).

I have put together a collection of 15 amazing online experiences and resources to aid you in thinking about how you as an individual, congregation or community of faith might want to engage in this practice. You will find each one of these sites are incredibly meaningful. Definitely take the time to visit each one.

One of my recent experiences of walking through the stations of the cross happened in the art district of LA with the Tribe LA, where various artists designed different experiential stations of the cross for us to engage. It was a powerful experience. While the stations of the cross is typically practiced during Lent, and in particular on Good Friday, it can be done on other days as well. I am planning on using these sites in a devotional way through the season of Lent. As you peruse these sites, be sure to take your time to reflect deeply. The following websites are not in any particular order.

 

1.  Nigeria: The Fourteen Stations of the Cross

Nigeria: The Fourteen Stations of the Cross

Society of African Missions

This is the stations of the cross by Bruce Onobrakpeya, an Urhobo man who has become one of the most famous artist in Nigeria. You will find some amazing art as well as written descriptions of the fourteen stations of the cross. After reading the introduction, scroll down to the bottom in the “explore the stations” area, and start an incredibly meaningful journey.

 

2.  The Scriptural Stations of the Cross

Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane

Trappist Abbey

Called to do religious art after making a vow with God on a commercial airline, just before it crashed, Lynne Kiefer Kobylecky does a masterful job of combining sculptural images with words of Scripture to create an experience that is transformative. You do not want to skip over this one.

 

3.  The O’Connell Paintings of the Stations of the Cross

The O'Connell Paintings http://www.strichardschichester.co.uk/strichards/oconnollart.shtml

St. Richard Schichester

The priest at the parish where these pictures hang says, “This particular Stations of the Cross is not everyone’s “cup of tea.” The style of these paintings is quite different from the style of the Stations that usually adorn the walls of our churches. There is an apparent inaccessibility about them that demands a certain amount of time and energy on the part of the onlooker.” You will find it well worth your time. Just continue to scroll down the page.

 

4.  The Stations of the Cross Through the Faces of the Poor

Jesus Meets His Mother

Food for the Poor

The people at Food for the Poor have put together a heart-wrenching stations of the cross by helping us to see the face of the suffering Christ through the poor in our world today. They seek to remind us that Christ still lives among us. Take the time to click through the different pictures. Explanations of the pictures are below the photos.

 

5.  Virtual Stations of the Cross

Busted Halo

Busted Halo has created a series of virtual stations, about two-minute art and word art videos that relate to Jesus’ teachings about the Kingdom of God and the reason for his death. While there are some Catholic elements (a “hail Mary” here and there), I think you will find this a prophetic experience.

 

6.  A Texted Based Word Art Way of the Cross

The Way of the Cross, John F Sherman—http://www3.nd.edu/~jsherman/stations/

University of Norte Dame

John Sherman of the University of Notre Dame’s Department of Art, Art History and Design’s depiction of Christs journey to the cross is text-based rather than illustrated. Each of the prints employs 23 languages in an effort to invoke empathy for the suffering of people around the world. Click on the word art so the picture is enlarged, and note the different stations on the left.

 

7.  A Contemporary Version of the Stations of the Cross

The Stations of the Cross, Joan Brand-Landkamer.

St. James Cathedral

The artwork for this stations of the cross was created by iconographer Joan Brand-Landkamer, and was inspired by the work of the 20th-century French artist Georges Rouault. The poetic meditations that accompany the images are the work of Paul Claudel.

 

8.  Im/migration Stations of the Cross

Im/migration: Stations of the Cross

Grace Commons

As you journey through the various stations, you will have the opportunity to reflect on how the story of Jesus might shape our approach to immigration and migration today. Put together by Nanette Sawyer, various artists participated in creating the art. You will find instructions on the first page, and as you read you will see a link for station one in bold.

 

9.  An Audio Visual Stations of the Cross

The Denial of Saint Peter by Caravaggio

Pray as you Go

While most stations of the cross have 14 stations, there are some variations from this approach. Here are ten stations of the cross that are accompanied by both music and scriptural readings. To go through this well, you will need a little time. This one is hosted by Pray as You Go site.

 

10.  Stations of the Cross Dedicated to Victims of War

The Stations of the Cross Dedicated to Victims of War

Pax Christi USA

There were many casualties and victims of the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, both civilian and military. This stations of the cross was written for Pax Christi USA by Sebastian L. Muccilli and the photo selection and blog layout by Beth Cioffoletti. Scroll down to see the photos and words, and be sure to read – A Christian Moral Creed – at the end.

 

11.  The Cosmic Cathedral Stations of the Cross

Jesus Dies on the Cross—The Cosmic Cathedral

Cosmic Cathedral

Kendal and Gary Wallin at the Cosmic Cathedral give us art, scripture, words and a prayer as a way to guide us through the fourteen stations of the cross. As you scroll down, click through each station in order to see the picture, scripture, words and prayer.

 

12.  Stations of the Cross from Latin America

Stations of the Cross from Alastain McIntosh

Alastair McIntosh

This is a liberationist approach to the stations of the cross, with the artwork by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate (1980), Adolfo Pérez Esquivel of Argentina. The commentary alongside each image is by Alastair McIntosh of Scotland. Take a meaningful walk through the stations of the cross and learn more about liberation theology. Scroll down to find the first station and the stations after that.

13.  Jerusalem – The Way of the Cross

The 8th Station:  HERE Jesus meets the Women of Jerusalem

Franciscan Cyberspot

Here you can find a combination of classic and current pictures of the various stations of the cross. This is at a Franciscan cyberspot entitled “Via Crucis,” so it is also a great place to learn more about this spiritual practice since it started with St. Francis.

14.  14 Stations, 14 Artists, One Story

Jesus is Condemned to Death

Communique

Fourteen Texas artists interpret the last moments in the life of Jesus. This online exhibit explores, with artistic expressions and words, the universal experience of suffering and the possibilities of redemption through honesty and compassion. As you click each picture you can see an enlarged view with thoughts from the artist.

15.  The Fourteen Stations of the Cross

The 14 Stations of the Cross—Segnatura

Segnatura

Segnatura is a fine arts store that focuses on sacred art in the classical tradition. As you click on the first picture, it will enlarge and give you a sentence describing the station. If you put your pointer halfway down on the right, you will find an arrow to click to go to the next painting.

I trust as you click through the various sites, each with their artistic expression of the stations of the cross, that God will use it in your life and/or the life of the congregation you serve. If there is a website on the stations of the cross that has been meaningful to you, please feel free share it with the rest of us in the comment section below.

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JR Woodward
JR Woodward is a church planter, activist, missiologist and author of Creating a Missional Culture (IVP, 2012). He co-founded the Ecclesia Network and Missio Alliance. He currently serves as the National Director for the V3 Church Planting Movement and is pursuing a PhD at the University of Manchester (UK).
JR Woodward

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