Mission Center: The Episcopal Church: Advocacy

Stations of the Cross for Global Justice and Reconciliation

The Stations of the Cross (also called the Way of the Cross) is a traditional liturgical devotion commemorating the last day of Jesus' life. The devotion originated with pilgrims in Jerusalem retracing the traditional steps Jesus is believed to have followed on Good Friday. Since not all Christians could make pilgrimages to Jerusalem, however, the custom arose of replicating the devotion in congregational and individual settings, often with images or carvings on the walls of a church to commemorate each of the traditional 14 stations (or stops) on the Way of the Cross.

The Church through the centuries has used many forms of praying the Stations of the Cross. The form here, prepared by The Episcopal Church's Office of Government Relations, offers the opportunity for Christians to meditate on each of the stations by contemplating the needs of suffering people in God's creation today. The devotions challenge us to think about how we -- the ministers of God's reconciliation in Christ -- can honor Christ's sacrifice by offering ourselves to the healing and repair of the world God sent his Son to save.

The prayers and other spoken words in this devotion come from The Episcopal Church's Book of Occasional Services.

CLICK HERE to download the Stations in a printable booklet format (Print this double sided and then fold in half).

Opening Devotions
THE FIRST STATION: Jesus is Condemned to Die
The First Station commemorates Jesus being sentenced to death before the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate. As you say this devotion, meditate upon all those throughout God's creation who are sentenced to die each day because of extreme poverty.
SECOND STATION: Jesus Takes Up His Cross
Jesus, who willingly took up the Cross for humanity's sake, also commanded us to take up our own crosses and follow him. Taking up our own crosses and giving ourselves in self-sacrificial love to help bear the burden of others is the model of vocation that God gave us in his Son.
THIRD STATION: Jesus Falls the First Time
Jesus stumbled and fell three times along his road to Crucifixion, but continued so that humanity would be spared the burden of its weight. Meditate upon the crushing burdens that today afflict God's creation, and how those burdens prevent humanity's full flourishing.
FOURTH STATION: Jesus Meets His Afflicted Mother
Jesus meets his Mother. After the angel departed from her, Mary sang a song about God's kingdom, and in it, told us how different a world modeled after God's will would look. Her vision of a world ordered after God's will remains sorely unrealized in our own midst.
FIFTH STATION: The Cross is Laid on Simon of Cyrene
The Gospel tells us that as the weight of Jesus' Cross grew, the Roman soldiers compelled a man named Simon to step in and carry the Cross for a time. As you meditate, consider the weights placed upon God's children each day, and that often, others have to help carry the load.
SIXTH STATION: A Woman Wipes the Face of Jesus
Ancient Christian tradition holds that along the Way of the Cross, a woman offered Jesus a towel to wipe his face, and on that towel, the image of his face was left. The true icons of the world are those who offer themselves in the humble service of others.
SEVENTH STATION: Jesus Falls a Second Time
Jesus falls a second time. His burden is becoming overwhelming, but he continues to march forward to Calvary, the point of our redemption. As you meditate, contemplate the will to survive and march forward among the one billion of God's children who live on less than a dollar a day.
EIGHTH STATION: Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem
Jesus, as he continues to bear the weight of the Cross, stops to speak to the women of Jerusalem. The status of women around the world, who often bear the burden for well-being of their families, is critical to the eradication of poverty and the achievement of the MDGs.
NINTH STATION: Jesus Falls a Third Time
The weight of the Cross finally has overtaken Jesus as he falls a third time, barely able to drag his body along the ground as he approaches Golgotha. As you meditate upon the Ninth Station, contemplate the toll that crushing disease has on God's children around the world.
TENTH STATION: Jesus is Stripped of his Garments
In a final act of humiliation before being lifted up on the Cross, the Roman soldiers strip Jesus of his garments and divide them amongst themselves. As you meditate upon Christ's humiliation, consider the many acts of humiliation endured daily by God's people who live in poverty.
ELEVENTH STATION: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross
The Cross is not merely our redemption, but also our reconciliation and restoration to God and to one another in Christ. As you meditate upon the Crucifixion at the Eleventh Station, consider how we are called to the ministry of reconciliation in our own lives.
TWELFTH STATION: Jesus Dies on the Cross
St. Paul tells us, "God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things whether in heaven or on earth by making peace through the Blood of the Cross." Despite God's passionate desire for reconciliation through the Cross, humanity remains torn by conflict, strife, and war.
THIRTEENTH STATION: The Body of Jesus is Placed in the Arms of His Mother
Removed from the Cross, the lifeless body of Jesus is returned to the arms of his Mother. As you meditate, consider the love of parents for their children throughout the world who must see their children die because of disease, malnutrition, conflict or child trafficking.
FOURTEENTH STATION: Jesus is Laid in the Tomb
Through the sacrifice and death of Christ, even death itself is no longer a barrier to life for the children of God. As you meditate upon Jesus in the tomb, consider that the Church is called by God to carry forward Christ's sacrifice by helping bring life in the midst of death.
Closing Devotions

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