Introduction

The Stations of the Cross @ The Bridge Community is a self-guided prayer journey and is a modern take on an ancient tradition. 


For two millennia, Christians have wondered at the love of God which is remarkably evident to us on Good Friday, the day of Jesus's death and burial.  Followers of Christ have historically marked this day with a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to walk the 900 steps Jesus took from his "trial" to the place of his crucifixion and entombment.  While an in-person pilgrimage to Jerusalem may not be feasible, we hope this Stations of the Cross experience can provide a way for followers of Christ to “walk his steps,” remembering the last events of Jesus life, his death, and his burial (also known as “the passion narrative”).  


Though the practice of walking the Stations of the Cross is widespread in the Christian tradition, the number of stations and events to be memorialized has been fluid throughout history. In this year's “Stations of the Cross Experience” we’ll take you through a meditation of nine moments that leading to Jesus' death and burial.  We hope this immersion into this day in the life of Jesus will move you to understand the sacrifice our sins required, and to marvel at the beauty of the mercy and justice of God which he demonstrated on the cross.  Our hope is that as your appreciation for this event grows, your joy will also grow this Easter.

Instructions for the stations

This whole Stations of the Cross Experience should take between 30 and 45 minutes.  As you arrive at each station, you will notice an image.  That image will help you think about a specific moment in the passion narrative. Each station has a scripture reading and short meditation to use as you reflect on this event (all scripture is taken from the ESV, though we encourage you to use any version you’re comfortable with as you move through the stations).  There is also a short prayer associated with each station.  Take as long as you need at each station.  Each station has two identical sides, so use whichever side is open.  If both sides of the station ahead of you are in use, please allow the group ahead of you to move on to the next station before you progress.

Opening Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, take me along that holy way you once took to your death. Take my mind, my memory, above all my reluctant heart, and let me see what you once did for love of me and all the world. Amen.

  • Station #1- Jesus is condemned (Matthew 27:11-14, 24, 26b)

    Scripture: 

    Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” “Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied. When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate asked him, “Don't you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor… 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…” He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.



    Reflection: 

    Jesus, you stand all alone before Pilate. Nobody speaks up for you. Nobody helps defend you. Sometimes I feel abandoned and afraid. Sometimes I too, feel like I am treated unfairly or blamed for things unfairly. I have a hard time when people criticize me at home or at work. Help me be grateful for what you did for me. Help me to accept criticism and unfairness as you did, and not complain. Help me pray for those who have hurt me.



    Prayer:

    O mangled victim of my sins! O suffering Jesus! I deserved those bloody scourges, that cruel sentence of death; and yet You died for me that I should live for You. I resign myself into Your hands. Let love take possession of my heart; let my eyes behold with contempt everything that can alienate  my affections from You; let my ears be ever attentive to Your word.  Amen. 



  • Station #2- Jesus carries his cross (John 19:6, 15-17)

    Scripture: 

    When the chief priests and the guards saw [Jesus] they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him. I find no guilt in him…” They cried out, “Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your king?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha.


    Reflection: 

    Jesus, as you accepted your cross, you knew you would carry it to your death on Calvary. You knew it wouldn't be easy, but you accepted it and carried it just the same. I contemplate the wood of that cross.  I imagine how heavy it is.  I reflect upon all it means that Jesus is carrying it. I sometimes feel like I'm not appreciated. Sometimes I feel as if I accept more responsibility that I need to. I can feel sorry for myself, even though the crosses others carry are much larger than my own. In my self-pity, I don't reach out to help.



    Prayer:

    Jesus, my sin loaded Your shoulders with the burden of the cross. I now, O’ Savior of the world, ask your forgiveness and repent, putting my sins in the past. By Your grace I am determined to live for you each day. Let me only glory in the cross of my Lord, by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world. Amen.



  • Station #3- Simon helps carry the cross (Mark 15:21)

    Scripture: 

    They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.


    Reflection: 

    Jesus, the soldiers are becoming impatient. This is taking longer than they wanted it to. They are afraid you won't make it to the hill where you will be crucified. As you grow weaker, they grab a man out of the crowd and make him help carry your cross. He was just watching what was happening, but all of a sudden he is helping you carry your cross. Sometimes I try to do as little as I can and still get by. Others might need my help, but I ignore their needs. Even when I'm asked to help, I sometimes claim to be too busy.  Like Simon, we too are called to carry the cross, to lay down our life for your kingdom and for those in need.  Take one of the small crosses as a reminder to serve as Christ served.


    Prayer:

    Suffering Jesus, your torture and journey toward your execution was

    incredibly cruel. You were almost dead before you ever got to the cross. It took another, just to get you to  Mount Calvary. Simon, coming in from the country, was pressed to carry your cross. Did he come to know you, Lord, walking by your side? By your meeting with the Cyrenean, may we find you in the stranger, and in the needy we meet. Help me to remember your suffering for me, Lord, and let me accompany you to Mount Calvary today. May I live and die in You. Amen.

  • Station #4- Jesus speaks to the women (Luke 23:27-31)

    Scripture: 

    A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children, for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed’' At that time, people will say to the mountains, ‘Fall upon us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?”


    Reflection: 

    Jesus, as you carry your cross you see a group of women along the road. As you pass by you see they are sad. You stop to spend a moment with them, to offer them some encouragement. Although you are have been abandoned by your friends and are in pain, you stop and try to help them. Sometimes I become so absorbed in myself and what I'd like that I forget about the needs of others. I take them for granted, and often ignore their needs. Help me think more about others. Help me remembers that others have problems, too. Help me respond to them even when I'm busy or preoccupied with my own problems.


    Prayer:

    My Jesus, you comfort the women of Jerusalem who wept to see you bruised and torn. Comfort my soul as I wrestle with your suffering. Help me to be aware of the needs around me, as you were. May I walk with you this day. Amen.


  • Station #5- Jesus is stripped (John 19:23-24)

    Scripture: 

    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 which said, “They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.” So this is what the soldiers did. 


    Reflection: 

    The soldiers notice you have something of value. They remove your cloak and throw dice for it. Part of the indignity is to be crucified naked. You are completely stripped of any pride. The wounds on your back are torn open again. You experience the ultimate vulnerability of the defenseless. No shield or security protect you. As they stare at you, your eyes turn to heaven. Some of the people in the crowd make fun of you. They tease you and challenge you to perform a miracle for them to see. They're not aware that you'll perform the greatest miracle of all! Help me to keep myself pure and clean. Help me say things that build up the people around me. Help me overcome worldly desires that I may become more like Jesus.


    Prayer:

    They divided your garments and cast lots for your clothes. My Jesus, stripped of Thy garments and drenched with gall, strip me of love for things of earth, and make me loathe all that savors of the world and sin. By your despoilment, O Lord, clothe us in your mercy which is rich beyond words. Amen.


  • Station #6- Jesus is nailed to the  cross (Mark 15:23-32)

    Scripture: 

    Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get. It was the third hour when they crucified him. The written notice of the charge against him read: THE KING OF THE JEWS. They crucified two robbers with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!” In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can't save himself! Let this Christ, this King of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.


    Reflection: 

    Huge nails are hammered through your hands and feet. I make myself watch the nails being driven through your flesh, I contemplate the completeness of Your entry into our lives. Can there be any pain or agony He would not understand? This is for me. What sorrow and gratitude fill my heart!  Recognizing that it was our sin that held him to the cross, take a sheet of paper, write on it a sin that Jesus bore, nail it to the cross, recognizing that because Jesus took our sin upon Himself, it has no power over us any more. 


    Prayer:

    O patient Jesus, meek Lamb of God who promised, “When I shall be exalted from earth I will draw all things to myself,” attract my heart to You. Let me crucify my past. I throw myself into the arms of Your mercy. Amen.

  • Station #7- Jesus dies (Mark 15:33-38)

    Scripture: 

    From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He's calling Elijah.”   Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to save him.” And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.


    Reflection: 

    Those words, “It is finished,” are a wonder.  It means that there is literally no work I need add to what Jesus has already done to save me from my sins and win for me eternal life.  As I trust in the work Jesus has done, I have the tremendous gift of forever fellowship with God. 


    Jesus died a horrifying death, yet Hebrews 12:2 tells us that though he was in agony, he was also joyful.  He was joyful that his death would bring healing and new life to all who would trust Him.  God symbolically tore the veil of the temple.  The veil kept God’s presence in the temple separated from the average person.  Jesus death tore the veil, bringing each of us into God’s presence.   Jesus wanted all of us to be able to live forever with God, so he gave all he had for us.  Jesus, let me take a few moments now to consider your love for me. Help me thank you for your willingness to go to your death for me. Help me express my love for you! 



    Prayer:

    My Jesus, You hung in agony for three hours before you died; let me die to sin, and live for Your love and faithful service.  I come into your presence, help me to abide with you. Amen.


  • Communion

    Jesus invites his followers to draw near to him by eating this symbolic meal. This meal ties followers of Jesus to him, and to each other.  If you are not a follower of Jesus, you may skip this portion of the Stations of the Cross experience. However, if you have already trusted Jesus and received the gift of eternal life he gives, or if you are ready to put your faith and trust in Jesus, this meal is a powerful way to tangibly connect your life with his grace. 



    Just before Jesus breathed His last breath, He said two very important things.  First, He cried out to His Father, saying, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) In that moment, Jesus was experiencing not only the pain of the cross, but the full weight of the curse of the cross as well.  In Old Testament times, when a person’s sin was grievous, their body would be taken outside the city and hung on a tree (Deuteronomy 21:23).  This was a sign to all that this person was cursed and forsaken by God.  In Galatians 3:13, the Apostle Paul reminds us that at the cross, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us — as it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.’”  Jesus became our curse, so we could be holy before God; He was forsaken by the Father so that we could be accepted.  


    Then, in His last breath, Jesus said, “It is finished.” (John 19:30)  He had assumed our sin, and freed us to have a relationship with God.  This relationship with God begins as we turn from living a life apart from Him, and choose instead to trust Him for the forgiveness of our sins and to follow His lead from here on out.  


    We express this faith in a tangible way through eating this bread, and drinking this juice.  The bread and juice are not magical.  They are symbolic of Christ’s body which was broken, and his blood that was shed so that we could be made right with God.  



    Take the Bread and Pray: I recognize that your body was broken so that I could be made whole.  Thank you for going to the cross for my sins.  (Eat)


    Take the cup and Pray: I recognize that your blood was shed so that my sins would be forgiven.  Thank you for dying for me.  (Drink)

  • Station #8 Jesus is taken from the Cross (John 19:38-39)

    Scripture: 

    Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple ofJesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate's permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. 


    Reflection: 

    Jesus, how brutally you were put to death. How gently You are taken from the cross. A profound sacrifice, complete. I behold this scene at the foot of the cross. I pause to let it soak in. You know the mystery of death. You have fallen into God's hands — for me — that I might love as I have been loved.


    Like Joseph and Nicodemus, I sometimes follow at a distance, yet when the reality of your death sinks in I cannot sit by.  Give me the grace and courage to know how to live for you, despite my fears and obstacles.


    Prayer:

    When taken from the cross, you died trusting a Father's care, faithful unto death. By your holy death, O Lord, give us an unfailing trust in God; commend us to your Father's hands.  Give us courage, give us strength, that we might stand for you as you have stood in our place. Amen.


  • Station #9- Jesus is buried (Matthew 27:57-60)

    Scripture: 

    When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph, who was

    himself a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be handed over.  Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it [in] clean linen and laid it in his new tomb that he had hewn in the rock. Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance to the tomb and departed.


    Reflection: 

    They take Your body to its resting place. The huge stone over the tomb is the final sign of the permanence of death. I stand for a moment outside this tomb. This final journey of his body has shown me the meaning of his gift of himself for me. This tomb represents every tomb I stand before with fear, in defeat,

    struggling to believe it could ever be empty.  Even in death, Jesus brings us hope. His Death was not the last word, and because he takes up his life in three days, there is hope.  Light your candle and leave it with the other candles as a sign of the hope we have in Christ.  Ask Jesus, whose hands, feet and side still bear the signs of this journey, to grant you the graces you need to take up your cross to be a light shining toward His mission.


    Prayer:

    My Jesus, without your death I too, would be lost. Without your resurrection, I would not have the hope of a new life. Jesus, for my salvation You took the painful journey of the Cross. Let your light shine through me. Amen.