An ancient, spiritual practice is the Stations of the Cross.  The Way of the Cross, written in many times and ways, is a text that serves as a guide for each practitioner. As we pass from station to station, we are reminded of the final episodes or events in the life of Christ, once Christ’s last supper with his disciples is done.

Artists from Trinity have created emblems of the stations in a variety of media appealing to our several senses even while acknowledging the many textures of creation. The text in our Way of the Cross is in three parts for each station: Scripture to mark the event; reflective text in the imagined, inner voice of the suffering Christ; and guided prayer. All this becomes Trinity’s practice, the Stations of the Cross, and our way to the Cross.

As you come to each station, you are invited to open your heart in your beholding, your reading, and your praying. We need to know what Christ endured and gave for us. It is good for us to know that we have a part in Christ, and each other, through the salvation of sacrifice. May God keep us all, during the Passion of Christ and always.

To set the tone for this experience, we encourage you to listen to Crown of Thorns” recorded by Debbie Wilson, Director of Contemporary Worship Music.  (Note: On some browsers this music may start automatically. Check to make sure your volume is on. The music will not loop, so you will need to start it again if you need more time.)


Crown of Thorns by Debbie Wilson

I. Jesus in the Garden

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”  An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
– Luke 42-44

I drip blood

I hurt
for the wound on the inside

I mourn for my people
I see Masada falling
The temple in Jerusalem smashed
And the people brought down, too
Then scattered

All this done
Because I could not bring the peace
They wanted

Only love without empire

I weep
For my friends
And for me
Weeping is prayer
And the prayer is blood

Let us pray, God who gives us prayer,

When we are alone, even in a beautiful place,
Come to us and touch us
That we may know your nearness
And your presence that stanches our wounds.

Amen

II. The Arrest of Jesus

Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. Jesus replied, “Friend, do what you came for.” Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him.
– Matthew 26:48-50

In the darkness of the night
They take me
My friends
Will scarce see me
Now
In this life

And some must even become complicit
One way of the other
In what comes

There is, of course, no comfort
          in the kiss
It signs the beginning of the horror

I can say there is no meaning in the kiss
But even though it is a signal
I want to think
He meant it

Let us pray, God of amazing mercy,

Forgive us please,
When we betray the goodness
And, accepting yours,
Aid us in offering your goodness to others,
Especially as forgiveness of our own.

Amen

III. The Trial of Jesus Before the Priests and Teachers of the Law

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”  An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

– Luke 42-44

I have been to see the priests
They will never let me go
It would mean death for them
Their ways

And I must quell
Any voice within myself
Calming the angels
Who would come at my command
To render true, bright, and terrible
The dark folly
Of this trial

Let us pray, God of endless grace,

Your justice overwhelms the world’s.
When we are caught in the snared of condemnation
or even the promises
That this world bestows,
Rescue us, cup us, keep us
Through your love
‘Til the world is truly renewed
And justice rolls like endless, giving water.

Amen

IV. Condemnation from the High Priest Caiaphas

Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” “He is worthy of death,” they answered. Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him and said, “Prophesy to us, Messiah. Who hit you?”

– Matthew 26:65-68

Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jewish leaders that it would be good if one man died for the people.

– John 18:14

Caiaphas reasons 

That one may die to save the many

And makes small irony
Of my name
That means the one who saves

Who is saved
In condemning me for blasphemy

Those I healed
Those I helped
Those I will redeem?

Let us pray, God of hope,

Reach out to us
When one with power
Might take us wrongly,
Even in the name of goodness
              and the community.
May we know that you,
              the source of power,
Will always judge aright
Against the meanness of the world.

Amen

V. Pilate with Jesus

“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!
– Matthew 27:22-24

I have been to Herod
And is there anything in the madness
We could speak of kingdoms, earthly and real
But he dismisses me

I see Pilate before me
And he beholds me:

He has the power and the cynicism
Of his race
And the fear
That comes with power and hopelessness
However covered

He would free me but won’t
He washes nothing but his hands
Certainly not the stain of our time

Let us pray, God over creation,

When we are forgotten
or exploited

By those who find us undeserving,
Worthy to be used only until used up,
Remind us, please, through holy ways,
That we are yours
And so have worth
And meaning
And love.

Amen

VI. The Guards Beat Jesus

Then 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 as a scepter. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.
– Matthew 27:27-30

I bleed
From the guards’ blows
And all my isolation

None are here
But those who mete out punishment

Do my pain, the blows, the broken skin
Satisfy anything other than prophecy

My agony fulfills a truth in what they do
Truly they know not

Let us pray, Lord of balm,

Offer us healing
When we are abandoned
and can only move in pain.
Show us
Though this loneliness of yours
That you know us and relate
And choose to breathe and move
With us.

Amen

VII. Jesus Taken to Golgotha

Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).

– John 19:16-17

I carry the cross
Or it is carried to another

Either way, we go
I, the cross, all my tormentors

They jeer at me
And why not?
I am on my way to be heaped
On a hill of rubbish
Called the Skull

We walk on stone, we walk on dirt
The stuff of earth
I made
And fall
And fall
From blood
That pours beneath

Let us pray, God of the Cross,

You carry wooden death,
The harshness of the world’s hard death.
You go before toward that
which we must also have.
Have us know, however,
that your suffering softens
The way for us
And, wounded and weary, first and worse,
You await us at our wayward end.

Amen

VIII. Jesus Speaks on the Way to the Cross

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!”
– Luke 23:27-29

O women of Jerusalem
Weep for all

For innocence is cut this day
Hatred, fear, rage, and sin
Strike away what stood
Slice the head, remove the heart

Slaughtering all

Let us pray, Lord,

Speak to us
That we might hear the love through pain,

The bitterness of prophecy
And its tempering
That yet may promise
Better change
for us and ours.

Amen

IX. Jesus is Crucified

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.
-Luke 23:32-33

I am pierced on the cross
Then we are lifted:
          sin and life and death

I open my eyes

It is a filthy, deserted place
          Barren, plain
          Smoke and ashes
          Life-stealing

And those
Must step over the worst of things
To be near me
For duty
Or love

Let us pray, Lord of love and grace,

You gave us your life,
Against the chosen cruelty of humanity.
We held life valueless
          and so too eagerly cast off yours.
And still
You offer us birth, life, and life without end
          with you.
May we thank you all the time
For bearing death
And giving life.

Amen

X. It is Dark

From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land.
– Matthew 27:45

I hear and taste and see
Gaming and derision

Calls to me to unbind myself
Or be unbound
          for there is also weeping and pleading

Then night comes down
Against its time
Darkness is day

Who covers the crimes
From creation’s sight?

Let us pray, God of light,

In our dark time,
Let us know
That you were in the darkness before
And will come through that
Offering hope
in light we cannot see.

Amen

XI. Jesus Speaks on the Cross

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
– John 19:25-27

I push my feet against the nails to breathe
I speak through blood
To those who hear

I speak to the thieves:
          the one sneers
          the other saved
          it need not have been that way

I must speak to my mother:
          you are my mother
          there is your son
          there is your mother

The family exchanged
It is finished

Let us pray, Lord,

Yet speak to us,
Moving us toward love
of all that is:
Each other, creation,
Life
And the life to come.

Amen

XII. Jesus Dies

Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to the lips of Jesus. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
– John 19:28-30

My senses dissolve
Liquids pour over me
From the thorns, the wounds

Forgiveness is opened with my wounds

I cry out, spent and forlorn
Using the prophet’s words
For I have no more of my own

          Why are we forsaken
          Why am I
          Are you?

I am alone
          as it nears
I must be

Let us pray, Lord of wondrous love,

What have you given
That the hope of reconciliation
May be fulfilled?
And who are we
To receive the promise
Completed now in you?
In our shame,
Raise us up,
          even with your wounded hands;
Bear us against your spear-pierced side
‘Til we may stand
Freed from the sin
You came to take.

Amen

XIII. Jesus is Entombed

As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for the body of Jesus, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.
– Matthew 27:57-60

They cut me down
And the women
And Joseph

Plead for me
This time
With governor
Who, maybe still pondering
          the question of truth
Gives them something this time

And we are carried
By grief and death
To Joseph’s tomb
Unused

Let us pray, God of all,

Your son is gone from sight;
You are gone from sight.
We can only touch the stones of earth;
We cannot see through worldly eyes
          our hope in you.
We did this, humanity:
          took you from us,
          even to bury you kindly.
And we must dare
          with mortal daring
To ask you to save us, still.
Restore to us our view of you
Beyond eyes, beyond senses
Beyond sin
Beyond audacity.

Amen

XIV. The Body in the Tomb

By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
– Isaiah 53:8-9

Three trees are left to crown the hill
Three empty trees now become refuse, too

The will is worked
While those who mortally remain
Hide, weep
Await

Was it for this
That weeping will fill Ramah
That Elijah’s voice has spoken again
That prophecies themselves will pierce
          the darkness, rent the Temple
         split the earth
In fulfillment, altering all

Pray well, all, for what comes next

Let us pray, God of wisest innocence,

When the world is overturned,
Love will be strong
Grace will be power–
Kindness unassailable
And mercy unimpeachable.

While we wait
For the time of your rising
When love will flood o’er all
Carrying us to new creation

While we fear
The loss of you
When you have moved
And you seem gone:

Touch us, still,
To teach us, to guide us
To reach toward you
Grasping and clasping
Each other on the way.

Amen