Go back to normal view
This is the time of year when those of us who are fortunate enough to have them, begin to look forward to holidays. As I write, it has been very cold and I am longing for some sun. A holiday, a journey sounds very appealing. There’s nothing wrong with looking ahead, or planning a treat, or being excited at the thought of some relaxation. The problem arises when we forget that, when we travel, we take ourselves with us. We may be leaving behind the stresses and strains of everyday life, but we take with us our own particular flaws and ingrained habits, some of which will continue to make life difficult for us and for those around us.
As we journey through Lent towards Holy Week, we focus on the final journey that Jesus made. It has been the custom at St Paul’s for some years that we join with the congregation of St Cedd’s Roman Catholic Church and, alternating between the two churches, we pray the Stations of the Cross every Friday evening during Lent. At St Paul’s we have the beautiful new representations of this ancient tradition as a focus for our prayer. Prayerfully meditating on Christ’s final journey – to the Cross, the tomb and beyond, is a way of entering into his sacrifice, and reminding ourselves of the horror that he endured to make our peace with God. It also helps us to appreciate more fully the joy of the Resurrection which follows.
But there is something else as well. Physically walking from Station to Station reminds us of the physical reality of Christ’s journey and also helps us to consider our own life journey: the choices we have made and are yet to make; our goals and purpose; the people who accompany and help us, and those whom we help; the consolations we receive even when life is very difficult: – even as Jesus is journeying towards the Cross, there is a tradition that a woman who became known as Saint Veronica stepped forward out of the crowd and wiped his face with her veil.
So walking and praying the Stations of the Cross is not just an exercise in remembering a past historical event, it is not even just a spiritual exercise to help us to appreciate God’s love for us, it is also a challenge and support to us in our own journeys – and may make us a bit more bearable on our holidays later this year! Do come and join us if you can.
May God bless you as we journey through Lent together.