Man bedecked in orange raises his hands in the air

Holy Week - Stations of the Cross

This year's Lent Challenge is accompanied by a six-week online Lent course. The material draws on the key themes of the new diocesan vision, Transforming Church, Transforming Lives - prayer and growth; transformation and the mission of God; the people of God, Church and Kingdom.

Each of the six week sessions begins with a time of prayer and a conversation starter to introduce the theme. This is followed by a Bible reading - and a reflection on that passage drawing on the tradition of lectio divina. This is a way of reading Scripture together, listening to it as God’s word to us, and prayerfully reflecting on it. Lectio divina might look something like this:

  • Read the passage through once
  • Keep a few moments silence
  • Read the passage a second time with different voices
  • invite everyone to say aloud a word or phrase that strikes them
  • Read the passage a third time
  • Share together what this word or phrase might mean, and what questions it raises

After reflecting on Scripture, a short reflection is offered to lead into further exploration of our response to the week's theme.

The discussion questions engage with the vision of Transforming Church, Transforming Lives. The ‘footprints' section is an opportunity to consider practical actions which we can take in the week ahead; actions which enable us to be alert to the activity of God in the world. These suggestions stand alongside those related to projects supported by the Bishop of Guildford's Foundation and the Diocese of Kebbi in Nigeria. Each weekly session ends with prayer.

At the end of the six week online Lent course is this service for Holy Week – Stations of the Cross.

Lent Course 2017 - Holy Week - Stations of the Cross

Word document version of Lent Course 2017 - Holy Week (as shown on this page of the website) - for simple download and print.
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·Holy Week - Stations of the Cross

The congregation waits in silence

Lent crosses imageIn the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.

Jesus told his disciples, 'If any want to become my followers,
let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
For those who want to save their life will lose it,
and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.' (Matthew 16.24,25)

Let us pray as we follow him on the way of the cross

A brief moment of silence follows.

Almighty and everlasting God,
who in your tender love towards the human race
sent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ
to take upon him our flesh
and to suffer death upon the cross:
grant that we may follow the example of his patience and humility,
and also be made partakers of his resurrection;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

Holy God,
Holy and strong,
holy and immortal,
have mercy upon us.

1. First Station - Jesus is condemned to death

As the station is moved towards, a verse of this, or a similar hymn may be sung

O sacred head, sore wounded,
    defiled and put to scorn;
O kingly head surrounded
    with mocking crown of thorn:
What sorrowmars thy grandeur?
    Can death thy bloom deflower?
O countenance whose splendour
    the hosts of heaven adore!

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy Cross, you have redeemed the world.

We call to mind the jeers and insults, the false accusations and crooked justice our Lord faced. We remember that he forgave his enemies and prayed for his persecutors. We think of the times we have felt judged, or when others have fallen under our judgement. We hold before Christ the pain of rejection, and pray for those who are falsely accused, tried and imprisoned today.

In a moment of silence we remember insults we have borne, and we ask God to help us forgive.

Lord Jesus Christ,
draw near to those who know the pain of judgement and rejection.
Forgive us for the ways in which we judge and wound others·
with our words and actions. Amen.

2. Second Station - Jesus carries the Cross

As the station is moved towards, a verse of this, or a similar hymn may be sung.

Thy beauty, long desired,
    hath vanished from our sight;
thy power is all expired,
    and quenched the light of light.
Ah me! For whom thou diest,
    hide not so far thy grace:
show me, O Love most highest,
    the brightness of thy face.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

We remember the heavy burden our Lord carried for love of us. Our guilt, our moral failings. We pray that we would follow Christ and take up our cross, bearing the burdens of others.

In a moment of silence we remember the burden Jesus carried for us.

Lord Jesus Christ,
thank you for the burden you bore for us.
May we never forget your love,
never cease to turn from the things which separate us from you,
and always seek to follow you in carrying the burden of others. Amen.

3. Third Station - Jesus falls the first time.

As the station is moved towards, a verse of this, or a similar hymn may be sung

I pray thee, Jesus, own me,
    me, Shepherd good, for thine;
who to thy fold hast won me,
    and fed with truth divine.
Me guilty, me refuse not,
    incline thy face to me,
this comfort that I lose not,
    on earth to comfort thee.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

We remember our human frailty. Our fallibility. The countless times we have stumbled, perhaps in the same ways for many years. We remember that in taking up his Cross, Christ bore our weakness and that we can know healing through him.
 
In a moment of silence we pray that we would find strength in Christ’s weakness.

Lord Jesus Christ,
You stumbled for us,
embracing our fragility.
In our frailty,
may we remember that God’s power
is made perfect in weakness. Amen.

4. Fourth Station - Jesus meets his mother.

As the station is moved towards, a verse of this, or a similar hymn may be sung

In thy most bitter passion
    my heart to share doth cry,
with thee for my salvation
    upon the cross to die.
Ah, keep my heart thus moved
    to stand thy cross beneath,
to mourn thee, well-beloved,
    yet thank thee for thy death.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

We remember that the Blessed virgin Mary witnessed her son’s humiliation, his wounds, sufferings. Her suffering was great too, to see the child she bore wearily walk to his crucifixion. We remember all parents who witness their children’s suffering, and pray particularly for all parents who have lost children.

In a moment of silence we pray for all suffering parents.

Lord Jesus Christ,
Your holy mother’s heart was pierced
as she beheld your sufferings.
Draw near to all who witness the suffering of their children,
particularly those who mourn the death of a child.
May they know your love and peace. Amen.

5. Fifth Station - Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry his cross.

As the station is moved towards, a verse of this, or a similar hymn may be sung

My days are few, O fail not,
    with thine immortal power,
to hold me that I quail not
    in death's most fearful hour;
that I might fight befriended,,
    and see in my last strife
to me thine arms extended
    upon the cross of life.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

The Lord Jesus alone could bear the sins of the world, yet showed his deep humility in accepting the help of a stranger to carry the load of the cross. As we follow Christ, taking up our cross, may we gratefully and humbly accept the support of those the Lord sends to help us.

In a moment of silence we give thanks for all who help us as we follow Christ

Lord Jesus Christ,
you send us helpers and friends
to support us as we follow you.
Help us to acknowledge our dependence on you
and on each other. Amen.

6. Sixth Station - Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

As the station is moved towards, a verse of this, or a similar hymn may be sung

When I survey the wondrous cross
    on which the Prince of Glory died,
my richest gain I count but loss,
    and pour contempt on all my pride.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

As the crowd look at Jesus, his humanity seemed diminished by his sufferings. He is a wreck, body bent low beneath the pain of torture and insult. Yet in the disfigured face of our suffering Lord, Veronica beholds his fundamental dignity, his divine humanity, and offers him the small kindness and honour she is able to, a towel to mop his brow. She is given a very precious gift in return, his likeness impressed on the towel. We remember that as we honouring the dignity of all those who bear God’s image through works of mercy, we become bearers of Christ’s likeness.

In a moment of silence we pray for all those who give their lives for those about whom society forgets

Lord Jesus Christ,
Help us to see God’s image
in all people
and to offer them the dignity due that image. Amen.

7. Seventh Station - Jesus falls for the second time.

As the station is moved towards, a verse of this, or a similar hymn may be sung

Forbid it Lord, that I should boast
    save in the cross of Christ, my God;
all the vain things that charm me most,
    I sacrifice them to his blood.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

As Jesus falls a second time, we remember how tempting it can be not to take up our cross daily. To feel its weight and judge it too much. We remember that our Lord continued to bear the weight of the cross, even when stumbling because of the load.

In a moment of silence we pray that the love of God would strengthen us to keep following Christ, even when it seems too much to bear.

Lord Jesus Christ,
Strengthen and guide us
that we may continue to tread the narrow way
that leads to eternal life.
We pray particularly for those
whose faith seems almost spent. Amen.

8. Eighth Station - Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem

As the station is moved towards, a verse of this, or a similar hymn may be sung

See from his head, his hands, his feet,
    sorrow and love flow mingled down;
did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
    or thorns compose so rich a crown?

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

They seem to mourn for him as though it is already his funeral, and yet in his love for them, his concern is turned to their sufferings, ‘women of Jerusalem, do not weep for me? Weep for yourselves and your children.’ In our own hardships, may we never lose sight of the plight of others.

In a moment of silence let us remember those who suffer.

Lord Jesus Christ,
may we never forget those who suffer
and may we always seek to meet them with your love. Amen.

9. Ninth Station - Jesus falls the third time.

As the station is moved towards, a verse of this, or a similar hymn may be sung

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
    that were an offering far too small;
love so amazing, so divine,
    demands my soul, my life, my all.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

Why would anyone bother getting up? Too frail now to carry the cross, Jesus falls a third time. Yet he continues on his journey, and in his weakness brings life and health and healing to a wounded humanity. May we remember that the weakness and failure of God the Son does not obliterate his strength, it is the way that strength is shown. May we remember that God is transforming us often when we feel at our weakest.

In a moment of silence we pray that we would open up our failures to God’s transforming power.

Lord Jesus Christ,
Help us to remember
that your power is made perfect in weakness,
and that we need not be ashamed of failure,
but trust you are still at work to heal and transform. Amen.

10. Tenth Station - Jesus is stripped of his clothes.

As the station is moved towards, a verse of this, or a similar hymn may be sung

Here is love, vast as the ocean,
    loving kindness as the flood,
When the Prince of life, our ransom,
    shed for us his precious blood.
Who His love will not remember?
    Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten,
    throughout heaven's eternal days.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

We spend a moment thinking about how our clothes make us feel. Secure? Confident? Warm? Comfortable? Clothes project our dignity, our wealth, our status. We remember the great violence done to our Lord when he was stripped of his clothing. Stripped of dignity. Humiliated. The king of heaven put on public display with absolutely nothing. We remember all those who suffer similar violence, particularly women who suffer this as a form of public shaming.

In a moment of silence let us remember those who suffer public humiliation.

Lord Jesus Christ,
We pray for those who are put to public shame
May we always seek to defend those
who are humiliated and abused. Amen.

11. Eleventh Station - Jesus is nailed to the Cross.

As the station is moved towards, a verse of this, or a similar hymn may be sung

On the Mount of Crucifixion,
    fountains opened deep and wide;
through the floodgates of God's mercy,
    flowed a vast and gracious tide.
Grace and love, like mighty rivers,
    poured incessant from above,
and heaven's peace and perfect justice.
    kissed a guilty world in love.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

The Lord Jesus freely embraces the unbearable pain for us, and even in the midst of that pain prays for the forgiveness of his tormenters. May the power of forgiveness transform anger and hatred in our lives.

In a moment of silence let us hold before God those we need to forgive

Lord Jesus Christ,
In your agony, you forgave.
May we learn to forgive others
as you have forgiven us. Amen.

12. Twelfth Station - Jesus dies on the Cross.

As the station is moved towards, a verse of this, or a similar hymn may be sung

Faithful Cross, above all other,
    one and only noble tree,
none in foliage, none in blossom,
    none in fruit thy peer may be;
sweet the wood, and sweet the iron,
    and thy load, most sweet is he.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

God dies on the cross for love of me. We hold on to this deepest of mysteries and remember the depths of God’s love.

In a moment of silence let us hold before God those we need to forgive

Lord Jesus Christ,
may we never lose sight
of this great mystery,
that the immortal one died for us.
By your death, may our nature be healed
that we might truly become God’s children. Amen.

13. Thirteenth Station - The body of Jesus is taken down from the Cross.

As the station is moved towards, a verse of this, or a similar hymn may be sung

Bend, O lofty Tree, thy branches,
    thy too rigid sinews bend;
and awhile the stubborn hardness,
    which thy birth bestowed, suspend;
and the limbs of heaven's high Monarch
    gently on thine arm's extend.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

Jesus’ lifeless body is taken from the cross and placed in the lap of his mother, who had stayed with him during the agony of his passion. She can do nothing except cling to her child, and adore her God, who for love of her and all humanity, offered his life. In our hearts, may we cling to him too, in whose death and resurrection we find life.

In a moment of silence let us offer our devotion to the crucified, risen saviour.

Lord Jesus Christ,
may we cling to you
and find no greater comfort
in life and death
than knowing we are safe in you. Amen.

14. Fourteenth Station - Jesus is laid in the tomb.

As the station is moved towards, a verse of this, or a similar hymn may be sung

Thou alone wast counted worthy
    this world's ransom to sustain,
that a shipwrecked race for ever
    might a port of refuge gain,
with the sacred blood anointed
    of the Lamb for sinners slain.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

In the burial of Jesus, almighty God embraces the depth of human suffering, he embraces the darkness of the tomb. As we wait for the glorious victory of Easter, let us hold before God our fear of death, and pray for the hope of the resurrection.

 Let us pray for the coming of God’s kingdom
 in the words our Saviour taught us.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory
for ever and ever.  Amen.

Most merciful God,
who by the death and resurrection of you Son Jesus Christ
delivered and saved the world:
grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross
we may triumph in the power of his victory;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

The congregation departs in silence.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:2

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