301 Faith Partners - Stations of the Cross
For full Text of 'Stations of the Cross' to include the Readings, click here
First Station: Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane
Prayer: Beloved Christ, This year we have known isolation. We have known wrestling alone in the garden of despair and fear, when night is close around us and all our friends are asleep. We hold in our hearts all those who died alone this year in hospital beds, in nursing homes or other care facilities, or alone in their own beds in cities far from friends and relatives. We hold in our hearts their families, who couldn’t be with them -- who longed to stay awake at their sides, but couldn’t.
We hold in our hearts all who are even still wrestling with mental health issues or with addictions, or who struggle with impulse control. Help all who suffer alone in the night to find the comfort of your presence.
We did not want to fall asleep, Beloved. We wanted to be with those for whom we care. We did not want to leave them alone -- distant from us -- cut off. But we had to.
It eases our hearts to know that you have walked this way before us. You know the pain of isolation. You know the grinding burden both of wrestling alone and of having to let go of dear ones who are suffering. You know how sleep, so necessary, can feel like a betrayal.

Second Station: Jesus, Betrayed by Judas, is Arrested
Prayer: Beloved Christ, How bitter it is to be betrayed. How alone and helpless we feel when friends turn against us or when workplaces become hostile. And how bitter it is when life itself betrays us.
In this Pandemic many of us have lost loved ones, jobs, our sense of well being, our health, our personal space, our sense of safety -- so much! It was wrong of us to think that these things were always going to be ours. It was misguided to believe that if we worked hard enough and saved prudently enough we would be guaranteed lives of security. And yet, that is what we were taught. We didn’t know -- couldn’t have imagined -- that we have almost no control over our lives, our happiness.
We are grieving, as you must have grieved when Judas betrayed you. Even though you knew it had to happen, even though you knew his heart, it must still have been devastating to stand there and receive his kiss.
You have been here where life betrays us. You can show us how to put our trust not in things and in circumstances but in God. There is no firm ground except our relationship with God. Everything else passes away.

Third Station: Jesus is Condemned by the Sanhedrin
Prayer: Beloved Christ, In this volatile year, we have been deeply divided from our neighbors by misunderstandings, willful miscommunication, and lies. The divisiveness was intentional. Rhetoric has been used to inflame hearts to violence.
We have seen the words of those we look up to twisted and used to condemn. Even our own words have been used that way. We have seen our neighbors dehumanized and stereotyped. Manipulation has been used to malign and injure.
It is painful and frightening when our neighbors act violently, hurting and killing in the name of an idea that they attribute to you.
We see how you bring to these situations not further conflict but truth and then silence. We see how you remain unswerving in following the Way of Love. Again and again you reach out in compassion and in truth, even when people are hurting you.
Fourth Station: Jesus is Denied by Peter
Prayer: Beloved Christ, We sure do know what it’s like to be like Peter. We betray that which we love most. Sometimes it’s because we are afraid of very real consequences. That’s bad enough, because, really, what is more important than being true to who and what we love? But at other times we don’t even have the excuse of needing to save our own skins. We just don’t think.
We cause such harm with our betrayals! But you are ever forgiving. You and Peter have gone here before us. You will be with us as we acknowledge our failure, ask for forgiveness, and go on.
Fifth Station: Jesus is Judged by Pilate
Prayer Beloved Christ, How can those in authority make such blatant, horrible mistakes? How can they put power and money ahead of justice for all people? How can they sacrifice the earth’s ecosystems for their own short-sighted gains? Oh, beloved, it hurts us so deeply to see how truth is sacrificed for expediency and the moral fiber of our country is compromised again and again.
But wait. I, myself, often put expediency over justice. I use more than my fair share of resources and generate a lot of waste. I go for the quick and inexpensive rather than the ecologically sound and small-farmer-friendly foods. I don’t pay enough attention to the poor and the marginalized.
You have gone here before us. You will be with us as we discern how we are called to act ethically in following your Way of Love.
Sixth Station: Jesus is Scourged and Crowned with Thorns
Prayer: Beloved Christ, We are being flayed again and again by news of violence.  It feels like no one is safe, and no one is to be trusted. And each time the wounds begin to close, they are opened again by new reports. It’s all too much. It’s hard to keep looking. We’re getting numb, closing down. We need to be angry and we need to weep, but how can we do that as new assaults keep happening?
You have gone here before us. And you will be with us as we walk through this very difficult time.
Seventh Station: Jesus Bears the Cross
Prayer: Beloved Christ, Systemic racism erupts into a killing hatred far too often. And we are helpless to stop it. Innocent children are housed in cages. Families are divided by draconian travel regulations. The police kneel on a man’s neck. A perpetrator seeks to excuse his killing violence by characterizing Asians as sex workers. Rioters storm the Capital and walk away unpunished. 
Human decency seems often to take a back seat to a kind of mob mentality, a blood lust that wants nothing more than to destroy. Our hearts are heavy with unshed tears. We wanted so much for our nation to be better than this!
Help us to cry, dear brother. Help us mourn your horrible death and the deaths of so many, many others. I don’t know where we will go from here. But you have been here before us, and we can trust you to show us a way.
Eighth Station: Jesus is Helped by Simon the Cyrenian to Carry the Cross
Prayer: Beloved Christ, there have been little bright banners of hope throughout this year, and we need some help to notice. They are all the people on the front lines just doing their jobs. They are nurses who have worked with COVID patients, bringing them cell phones or laptops on which to carry on conversations with loved ones who cannot visit. They are chaplains who have helped grieving families process not only the deaths of those they love but the fact that they won’t even be able to have a funeral. They are firefighters and food bank workers, teachers and school nurses. They are grocery store clerks who go to work thinking that perhaps this will be the day when a shooter comes to their store.
All these hundreds -- thousands -- of good-hearted, caring people, these are the true face of this country, indeed of the world. Help us to allow these valiant people who are just doing their jobs to touch and open our hearts, just as you allowed Simon of Cyrene to carry your cross for you. Help our tears to flow as we remember their simple valor in our time of profound need.
Ninth Station: Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem
Prayer: Beloved Christ, It is easy to imagine that this is the time when the dry wood of self interest, greed, clan identification, and ego concerns will incinerate the earth. We mark with dread how climate change is bringing about floods, hurricanes, fires and drought across the globe. And it is frustrating that though we know the causes of disaster, we cannot seem to do even the simplest things to turn the trend around.  We mourn the loss of species, of the biomass worldwide, of environments we have cherished. Of clean air and water. Of balance.
Oh, beloved, in this time of isolation we see so much we are helpless to change. Help us to start where we can to do what we are able to do. You have loved this planet and all its creatures before us, and you love it still.
Tenth Station: Jesus is Crucified
Prayer: Beloved Christ, How can you say, “They know not what they do?” Isn’t it time that we took some responsibility for our actions? Isn’t it time we looked out a little further than the end of our noses -- our self-interest and clan-identification? There is so much at stake! We inhabit a beautiful planet, and we are slowly reducing it to dust and ash. People are starving. They are being driven from their homes by war or poverty. They are making do with almost nothing while we live in huge houses with every convenience at our fingertips. We have powerful teachings in the world’s religions -- and we merely tip our hats to them once in a while when we’re in the mood. 
O, beloved brother, teach us what you know of being in this place. Teach us to forgive, to work for justice ceaselessly, to try to be a help to our neighbors in all the ways we can. You have been here before us, and you stand with us in our despair and helplessness.
Twelfth Station: Jesus Speaks to His Mother and the Disciple
Prayer: Beloved Christ, Your words to your family from the cross are remembered by all of us standing here these many centuries later. Were you speaking to them out of loving concern, trying to tie up loose ends before you died? Were you uniting two lost souls whose worlds had been centered in you?
We are grieving. The lament wells up in us from our depths and pours out whenever we allow it to flow. We often cannot put words to what is paining us so deeply. And so it’s hard to keep faith with it, to just let it express itself in all the channels in which grief moves -- in prayer, in tears, in singing and in making art.
When we do we see that our pain is our witness to all the horrible things that have happened this year. It is our witness to half a million deaths in this country alone. It is our cry added to the cries of all the bereaved everywhere.
How can we help but feel it? Our souls are connected. The grief of each is the sorrow of all.
But you are right here in the midst of our sorrow with us. Your compassionate heart moves you to speak even from the cross. How can we doubt, then, that, with us, you are grieving deeply today?

Thirteenth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross
Prayer: Beloved Christ, You have gone before us through the portal of death. You have prepared us a way.
Each generation must learn for ourselves the profound change of consciousness you introduce us to through your birth, life, death and resurrection. You are God, and you have dwelt among us. Our suffering is not foreign to you.
Help us now, in this time of numbing isolation as we respond to a Pandemic that leaves no corner of the world untouched, In this time when our profound racism is again being acknowledged and hopefully addressed,
In this time when species are dying out and natural disasters are becoming increasingly common,
In this time of divisiveness, rage and fear,
To see what you want to show us, to turn around in the ways you want us to turn, to die to our ego desires and live instead in you.

For you have been here before us, and you are with us now.
Fourteenth Station: Jesus is Placed in the Tomb
Prayer: Beloved Christ, Your disciple, Joseph, put himself at risk by identifying himself as a disciple of yours. May we engage in the risky behavior of identifying ourselves as allies to those being discriminated against. May we be willing to confront the bullies wherever we find them.
You only used the tomb that Joseph had given you for a very short time. Joseph’s understanding of what you and your followers needed was limited because he didn’t know that you would be resurrected. May we be willing to bend and flex, knowing that our best gifts often fall short of what’s really needed.
May we listen deeply in the profound silence of the tomb.
May we wait patiently.
May we know that you are present even when you seem most absent.
For all bulletins, reflections, Sunday recordings during our hiatus from celebrating together, visit our webpage. Please contact us with questions, concerns and ideas for better connection with and for the community - marymagdalafc@gmail.com

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