Carlos Colón, Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion Resident Scholar, and I will be leading services with The Stations of the Cross this coming Friday in Armstrong Browning at 3:00 and then again at 4:00. The artwork for the 8 stations we will be using during the service are photographs taken by my wife Julie, which will be accompanied by readings and prayers that I wrote a number of years ago with Cameron Jorgenson. Carlos has added some music this year, which will involve several musicians to support our singing in that wonderful space. Each service will last about 30 minutes.
I hope you’ll join us in anticipation of Holy Week.
About the Stations of the Cross
Because of its role in preserving the memory of people, places, and events of significance to the people of God, pilgrimage has been a central practice of Christianity since its earliest centuries. While some churches containing particular icons or relics of popular saints were important destinations for people on a spiritual journey, the destination that most captured pilgrims’ imaginations then and now is the Holy Land.
Many places in the Holy Land were important to these travelers, but, by far the most important locations were those associated with Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. Pilgrims would walk the Via Dolorosa (the Way of Suffering), retracing the final steps of Christ from his arrest, to his trial, to his crucifixion, and to his burial.
Because many desired to undertake the journey but relatively few people were able to go, a tradition of recreating the Via Dolorosa in churches emerged. Some were built along outdoor paths, while others were recreated within the walls of churches. The number of stations also changed over time. But by the late 1600s, nearly all European churches had a series of fourteen stations placed around the perimeter of the sanctuary with a piece of art depicting the individual scenes associated with the Passion. It had become one of the most common spiritual practices in Christian devotion.