Ss Peter and Paul Church

A church at the heart of the village, with the village in its heart.

Stations of the Cross

The First Station 

Jesus is condemned to death

Station 1

We adore you O Christ and we bless you 

because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

Bible reading

The chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas to be freed and to have Jesus executed. “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor. “Barabbas,” they answered.  “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!”  “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”  When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”  All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!”  Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.


Story

Jesus stands in the most human of places. He has already experienced profound solidarity with so many people whilst on this earth, by being beaten and tortured. Now he is wrongfully condemned to punishment by death. His commitment to entering our lives completely begins its final steps. He has said “yes” to God and placed his life in God’s hands. We follow him in this final surrender, and contemplate with reverence each place along the way, as he is broken and given for us.

Meditation 

As we think of that scene, we become moved by both outrage and gratitude. We look at Jesus. His face, the crown of thorns, the blood, the clothes stuck to the wounds on his back. Pilate washes his hands of the whole affair. Jesus’ hands are tied behind his back.  This is for us that we might be free, that we might have eternal life, as we we follow his journey.


The Second Station 


Jesus takes up his cross

Station2


We adore you O Christ and we bless you 

because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world


Bible reading

The governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said.  They spat on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.  After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.


Story

Jesus is made to carry the cross on which he will die. It represents the weight of all our crosses. What he must have felt as he first took it upon his shoulders! With each step he enters more deeply into our human experience. He walks in the path of human misery and suffering, and experiences its crushing weight.


Meditation

We contemplate the wood of that cross. Imagine how heavy it is as we reflect upon all it means that Jesus is carrying it for us. Imagine looking into his eyes. It’s all there. This is for me. So we place ourself with him in this journey, in its anguish, in his freedom and surrender, in the love that must fill his heart. With sorrow and gratitude, we continue the journey. Moved by the power of his love, we are drawn to him and express our love and our thanks

The Third Station


Jesus fall for the first time

Station 3


We adore you O Christ and we bless you 

because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world


Bible reading

For the sake of humanity he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, so in turn he is able to help those who are being tempted.


Story

The weight is unbearable. Jesus falls under it. How could he enter our lives completely without surrendering to the crushing weight of the life of so many on this earth! He lays on the ground and knows the experience of weakness beneath unfair burdens. He feels the powerlessness of wondering if he will ever be able to continue. He is pulled up and made to continue.


Meditation

Picture the weakness in his eyes. Imagine his whole body and see the exhaustion. As we think of him there on the ground, being roughly pulled up, we know forever how profoundly he understands our fatigue and our defeats. This is for us. In grief and gratitude We want to let him remain there. As we think of him standing again and gaining an inner strength, we accept his love.


The Fourth Station 


Jesus meets his mother Mary

Station 4

We adore you O Christ and we bless you 

because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world


Bible Reading

The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour with God.  You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”  “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”  The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 


Story

Jesus’ path takes him to a powerful source of his strength to continue. All his life, his mother had taught him the meaning of the words, “Behold, the handmaid of the Lord.” Now they look into each other’s eyes. How pierced-through her heart must be! How pained he must be to see her tears! Now, her grace-filled smile blesses his mission and stirs his heart to its depth. Love and trust in God bind them together.


Meditation

As we think of Jesus and Mary in this place along the way, we contemplate the mystery of love’s power to give strength. She knows the sorrow in every mother’s heart who has lost a child to tragedy or violence. This of the two of them very carefully and long for such love and such peace. This is for us, such incredible freedom, the availability of a servant..

    


The Fifth Station 


Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry the cross

Station 5


We adore you O Christ and we bless you 

because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world


Bible Reading

Then they led him away to crucify him but as they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross.  They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”).  There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it.


Story

Jesus even experiences our struggle to receive help. He is made to experience the poverty of not being able to carry his burden alone. He enters into the experience of all who must depend upon others to survive. He is deprived of the satisfaction of carrying this burden on his own.


Meditation

Imagine looking into his face and contemplating or even understanding his struggle, his weariness and fragility, his impotence. He must have looked at Simon, with utmost humility and gratitude. This is for us. So we feel anguish and gratitude. We express our thanks that he can continue this journey. That he has help. That he knows our inability to carry our burdens alone.



The Sixth Station 

Veronica wiped the face of Jesus

Station 6

We adore you O Christ and we bless you 

because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world


Bible Reading

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’  “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’  “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’


Story

Jesus’ journey is at times brutal. He has entered into the terrible experiences of rejection and injustice. He has been whipped and beaten. His face shows the signs of his solidarity with all who have ever suffered injustice and vile, abusive treatment. He encounters a compassionate, loving disciple who wipes the vulgar spit and mocking blood from his face. On her veil, she discovers the image of his face – his gift to her, and, for us to contemplate forever.


Meditation

What does the face of Jesus hold for us? What do we see, as we look deeply into his face? Can we try to comfort the agony and pain? Can we embrace him, with his face so covered with his passion?  The veil we behold is a true icon of his gift of himself. This is for us. In wonder and awe, we imagine his face now wiped clean, and see the depth of his suffering in solidarity with all flesh.

       


The Seventh Station 


Jesus fall for the second time

Station 7


We adore you O Christ and we bless you 

because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world


Bible Reading

He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.  Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 


Story 

Even with help, Jesus stumbles and falls to the ground. In deep exhaustion he stares at the earth beneath him. “Remember, you are dust and to dust you will return.” He has seen death before. Now he can feel the profound weakness of disability and disease and ageing itself, there on his knees, under the weight of his cross.


Meditation

Contemplate Jesus brought very low. As we behold him there, on the ground, with all the agony taking its toll on him, we let our heart go out to him. Store this image in our heart, knowing that we will never feel alone in our suffering or in any diminishment, with this image of Jesus on the ground before us. This is for us.



The Eighth Station 

Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem

Station 8

We adore you O Christ and we bless you 

because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world

Bible Reading

A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him.  Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children.  For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’  Then “ ‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!” ’  For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”


Story

The women of Jerusalem, and their children, come out to comfort and thank him. They had seen his compassion and welcomed his words of healing and freedom. He had broken all kinds of social and religious conventions to connect with them. Now they are here to support him. He feels their grief. He suffers, knowing he can’t remain to help them more in this life. He knows the mystery of facing the separation of death.


Meditation

Imagine their faces so full of love and gratitude, loss and fear. Contemplate what words might have passed between them. We remember all his tender, compassionate, merciful love for us. I place myself with these women and children to support him. This is for us, so, we let this scene stir up our deep gratitude.


The Ninth Station 


Jesus fall for the third time

Station 9


We adore you O Christ and we bless you 

because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world


Bible Reading

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.  “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”  When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.  “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”  For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and guardian of your souls.


Story

This last fall is devastating. Jesus can barely proceed to the end. Summoning all this remaining strength supported by his inner trust in God, Jesus collapses under the weight of the cross. His executioners look at him as a broken man, pathetic yet paying a price he deserves. They help him up so he can make it up the hill of crucifixion.


Meditation 

We pause to contemplate him there, on the ground: His brokenness that makes us whole; the surrender that gives us life. We pause to experience and receive how completely he loves us. He is indeed completely poured out for us. As we treasure this gifted experience, we know this is for us.



The Tenth Station 


Jesus is stripped naked

Station 10


We adore you O Christ and we bless you 

because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world


Bible Reading

When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.  “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.” This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said, “They divided my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.”So this is what the soldiers did. 


Story

Part of the indignity is to be crucified naked. Jesus is completely stripped of any pride. The wounds on his back are torn open again. He experiences the ultimate vulnerability of the defenceless. No shield or security protects him. As they stare at him, his eyes turn to heaven.


Meditation 

We pause to think about the stripping. We contemplate all that is taken from him and how he faces his death with such nakedness. Reflect upon how much of himself he has revealed, to holding nothing back.  As we look at him in his humility, we know that this is for us, and we share my feelings of gratitude.



The Eleventh Station 


Jesus is nailed to the cross

Station 11


We adore you O Christ and we bless you 

because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world


Bible Reading

Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed.  When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left.  Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.  The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar  and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” 


Story

Huge nails are hammered through his hands and feet to fix him on the cross. He is bleeding much more seriously now. As the cross is lifted up, the weight of his life hangs on those nails. Every time he struggles to pull himself up to breathe, his ability to cling to life slips away.


Meditation

We make ourself watch the nails being driven through his flesh. And imagine his face. Contemplate the completeness of his entry into our lives. Can there be any pain or agony he would not understand?

This is for us, nailed to a cross to forever proclaim liberty to captives. Through pain comes freedom.

   


The Twelfth Station 


Jesus dies on the cross

Station 12


We adore you O Christ and we bless you 

because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world

 

Bible Reading

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”  But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?  We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”  Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. ”  Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon,  for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.  Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.  The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.”  When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. 


Story 

Between two criminals, a mocking title above his head, with only Mary and John and Mary Magdalene to support him, Jesus surrenders his last breath: “Into your hands I commend my spirit.”


Meditation

We stand there, at the foot of the cross, side by side with all of humanity, and behold our salvation. We carefully watch and listen to all that is said. And then, the one who gives life to us passes from life to death. We console Mary and John and let them comfort us.

This is the hour of his death but the hour of our freedom.

   


The Thirteenth Station 


Jesus body is taken down from the cross

Station 13


We adore you O Christ and we bless you 

because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world


Bible reading

The soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other.  But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.  Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.  The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe.  These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,”  and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”  Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. 


Story

What tender mourning! Jesus’ lifeless body lies in his mother’s arms. He has truly died...A profound sacrifice, complete.


Meditation

We behold this scene at the foot of the cross and contemplate touching, caressing his body. Remember all that his hands have touched, all who have been blessed by his warm embrace. Pause to let it soak in. He knows the mystery of death. He has fallen into God’s hands.  That we might love as we have been loved.  We pour out my heart to the God of all mercies.


 

The Fourteenth Station


Jesus body is laid in the tomb

Station 14


We adore you O Christ and we bless you 

because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world


Bible Reading

Joseph of Arimathaea was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had  previously visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds.  Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.  At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid.  Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.


Story

They take the body of Jesus to its resting place. The huge stone over the tomb is the final sign of the permanence of death. In this final act of surrender, who would have imagined this tomb would soon be empty or that Jesus would show himself alive to his disciples, or that they would recognise him in the breaking of bread? Oh, that our hearts might burn within us, as we realise how he had to suffer and die so as to enter into his glory, for us.


Meditation

We pause to contemplate this act of closure on his life. In solidarity with all humanity, his body is taken to its grave. We stand for a moment outside this tomb. This final journey of his life has shown us the meaning of his gift of himself for all mankind. We express our gratitude for this Way of the Cross.



The Fifteenth Station (only after Easter) 


The Resurrection

Station 15


We adore you O Christ and we bless you

because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world


Bible Reading

Mary Magdalene stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realise that it was Jesus.  He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”  Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”  Jesus said to her, “Mary.”  She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).  Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ”


Story

The stone is rolled away and Christ has risen from the dead, although no one is aware of it yet.  The disciples must have been sad knowing their friend and leader had been killed in such a cruel way but soon their mourning would be turned to dancing and their joy would be complete when they are greeted by the risen Lord.


Meditation

I ask Jesus, whose hands, feet and side still bear the signs of this journey, to grant us the grace we need to take up our cross to be a servant of his. Our joy must be complete too, as Christ passes from death to life and assures us all of redemption because of his resurrection. In our hearts we should be thankful and full of praise because like him we are assured of our place in Heaven.


Conclusion


As we have walked the way of Christ, so we have have drawn ourselves closer to him.  We have contemplated how his actions then still have meaning for us today and how from that instrument of pain and suffering comes happiness and joy, from the hatred of the Roman empire comes the true love of our saviour and from death on the cross comes true life and redemption.  Christ took away the sins of the the worlds so that the world could be free to worship him.


Lord of all life and power, who through the mighty resurrection of your Son overcame the old order of sin and death to make all things new in him: grant that we, being dead to sin and alive to you in Jesus Christ, may reign with him in glory; to whom with you and the Holy Spirit be praise and honour, glory and might, now and in all eternity.


God of Life, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son

to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection have delivered us from the power of our enemy: grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his risen life; through Jesus Christ our Lord