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Listen while you read: "Jesus I Am Resting Resting"1 (Lyrics)
John 19:17 – They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. (NASB)
During Holy Week, many Christians throughout the world symbolically follow Christ's journey to the cross to enhance their spiritual experience of the journey from Pilate's judgment hall to Calvary. Prayers and reflections are considered while following successive incidents on Christ's journey, known as the Stations of the Cross, a series of depictions represented by pictures, paintings, or sculptured plaques which have been set up along a path commemorating the events of the passion of Jesus.
My encounter with this tradition came through an invitation by a friend to attend a weekend spiritual retreat in the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains, California, USA. During the retreat, the congregants were invited on a walk to follow the Stations of the Cross for thoughtful prayer and reflection. This experience allowed me to meet God in a unique way, with an increased awareness of Christ's suffering as He made His way along the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem that day.
To think that the event of Jesus' journey to the cross was a one-time event in history is to misunderstand the role of remembering. Throughout Scripture, in both Old and New Testaments, God's people are called to remember. In remembering this event by walking the Stations of the Cross, we are not just re-enacting a 2,000-year-old event. We are making our own journey, and in the process confessing our own dependence upon God.
When we follow Jesus on His journey, we begin to understand that in Jesus' sufferings, we see our own journey mirrored in His. We sometimes struggle on the journey, trying to understand the unfairness of life. We may be misjudged and misunderstood by others. We suffer physical and emotional pain as part of being human. All too often, we experience painful endings. Marriages fail. Children make destructive decisions. Friends betray us. Loved ones die. Sometimes, the world becomes dark and hopeless, like the world of Good Friday as Jesus journeyed to the cross.
Challenge – As we follow Christ, we are compelled to identify with those who suffer in their own journey. Let us reach out to help those around us, showing God's love by listening, praying, and assisting those in our community who are in need.
Prayer – Heavenly Father, as we begin this journey of the cross, we open our hearts and minds to You. We lay aside for these moments the trivialities of our life and bring ourselves into Your presence. Speak to us what we need to hear, and help us to hear Your spoken words afresh in our hearts. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
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May it be so Parise.
I never thought of it this way. Very interesting.
Beautiful Parise, Thank you.
Easter Blessings to you and your loved ones.
Dear Parise: Thank you so much for your words. I am deeply moved by them. Blessings to you and yours.
Thanks for your words regarding remembering Christ’s journey. His sacrifice for us is unforgettable. Keep on writing dear sister.
Such a great message, I had to share on FB.
Blessings to you Parise. May you enjoy Easter in a very special way.
Homerun Parise: the walk, the reflection and the prayer truly brings us closer to God. Understanding Jesus and the pain he endured, lets me know how much he loved us.
This was an interesting message reminding me of my upbringing in the Catholic Church. At that time, the Stations of the Cross were nothing more than a ritual to me but in light of your devotional, I can see why this tradition may be very meaningful to many Christians. Thank you for sharing your insights and challenging us to follow Jesus’ example in caring for others.
Good Morning Parise, from the high desert of Ridgecrest, also known as China Lake.
I have responded to the devotionals, and it’s amazed me that I have heard back from the writers. I have read all of your writings and have enjoyed them so very much. The one today, Journey to the Cross, is the theme of my Pastor’s Easter series sermons.
May the Lord bless you and your family abundantly in all you do. Have a Easter filled with endless blessings!
Indeed a fresh look Parise,
Even though many do not follow this tradition, there is significant merit to what you have said and experienced.
Not understanding this as a child makes me wonder if the purpose of this ritual should be highlighted in a more meaningful and memorable fashion by the church.
Thank you for your insight and bringing this to our attention.
Have a blessed Easter.
Very good Parise – I think we got the Stations of the Cross from St Francis of Assisi.
There is a tough Stations of the Cross to do when climbing Mt. Krizevac (Cross Mountain) in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Hercegovina with prayers to be said at every station. I have done this several times over the years and believe me, by the time you have reached the top of the mountain, you are physically finished for the day.
I did not understand why Our Lord fell so many times until I had an ulcer attack that came out of nowhere and almost killed me. I lost a lot of blood quickly and as my wife was guiding me out to the car, my legs gave out – like they went to sleep. My heart was pounding, trying to move the blood that I had left around as best as it could. I really should have died but God has other ideas. Maybe He needed the laughs that I give Him!
Anyhow, keep on writing. We are in Holy Week and Our Lord simply asks us to accompany Him up to Calvary and keep Him company as He endures His Passion.