STATIONS OF THE CROSS
Welcome to the Stations of the Cross Online Experience, a powerful journey that will take you through the hours leading up to the Crucifixion and the hours after Jesus’ death. If this is your first time going through this journey, we recommend you read the introduction first.
We will be hosting a physical space of this journey at the Legacy Campus, the Sloan Creek Campus, and the Woodbridge Campus starting Friday, April 12. Throughout the week, the stations at the Legacy Campus (lobby) will be open from 8:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. until Thursday, April 18; the stations at the Sloan Creek Campus will be open all day and night through Easter weekend; and the stations at the Woodbridge Campus will be open from 8:00 a.m-9:00 p.m until Thursday, April 18.
If you’re unable to attend either campuses during that week, please feel free to take this journey online by scrolling through and clicking on each station and doing your reflection below. Please don’t rush, but take your time. Each station is meant to help you on the journey with Scripture, commentary, and a closing prayer. Travel well, my friends!
A BRIEF HISTORY
The Stations of the Cross (also known as Via Crucis or Way of the Cross) have been identified for hundreds of years with religious celebrations leading up to Christendom’s most holy day of Easter. This practice of pilgrimage in miniature has deep roots in the life of the community of Christ from the very threshold of its existence.
The way of Christ’s suffering, from the Garden of Gethsemane to the rocky hill of Golgotha, was carefully marked out by pious believers from the earliest days of Christianity. With the conversion of Constantine and his construction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem came a frenzy of devoted pilgrims from all over the world visiting the land of Jesus.
However, the financial realities of the common man did not allow for months of leisurely travel for devotion. So, from the earliest of times, the desire to replicate holy places for those hindered from long pilgrimages was set in the heart of the devout.
In the fifth century, a Catholic bishop constructed a few connected chapels to represent the holiest places associated with Christ in Jerusalem. These chapels in San Stefano, Italy, attracted visitors and are the seeds for the modern Stations of the Cross.
Between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries, pilgrims visiting the Holy Land felt inspired to walk the sacred way of Christ to Calvary. There were stopping points along the way, allowing the faithful to contemplate, seek God, and pray.
In the centuries that followed, traveling to Jerusalem proved to be difficult. As a result, numerous reproductions of Jerusalem’s holy places were constructed throughout Europe. The Dominican chapels in Cordova contained the first recorded paintings of the primary scenes from Christ’s Passion. Many of the reproductions were marked out in the same number of paces as their counterparts in Jerusalem. Thus, embarking on this replica would cover the same distance that a counterpart pilgrim would walk in Jerusalem.
By the nineteenth century, the practice had become a staple in Catholic prayer books and churches throughout Europe and North America.
WHY EMBRACE IT TODAY AT CHASE OAKS?
While many of you may have grown up with this devotional practice, I wasn’t exposed to it until mid-life. It has proven to be a rich way for me to connect with Christ and with His story the week prior to the cross. It has taught me more deeply the meaning of sacrifice and love. As a means of God’s grace to me, it has taken me beyond the cross and into the empty tomb. It continues to grow my hope, joy, and knowledge of just how very much He loves me and all of us.
The content of this experience is based on artwork by Scott Erickson, artist in residence at Imago Dei in Portland, Oregon, as well as excerpts from The Via Crusis by Shawn Small and the writings of Greg Holmes, the Communications Pastor at Chase Oaks Church.
I am thrilled to share this experience with you. My hope and prayer for everyone who engages in this path is that you find yourself in this story. I pray you sense the depth of His love for you as you hear His invitation to an even more intimate relationship with Him. Finally, I pray that you celebrate in our hope of eternal life with Him forever.
Please don’t rush, but take your time. There are guides at each station meant to help you on the journey with Scripture, commentary, and a closing prayer. Travel well, my friends!
Weekend Experience Pastor