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Reflections On The Stations of The Cross
Version One - 1994

The following is a Good Friday Worship Service first written by Charlene Fairchild & Richard Fairchild in 1994 and based on the traditional Stations of The Cross. The service is designed to be led by two narrators (R and C). If the sanctuary does not have "the stations of the cross" around it's interior, then some should be prepared. Enough dice should be purchased to allow every person attending to receive one di. Note that the sung responses are all based on traditional hymns. The words for "Were You There" have been altered. Instruct the music leader to leave room between the narrations and the sung responses. Make use of silence - don't rush the service.

For a different, and more dramatic, version of "The Stations of The Cross" see our GOOD FRIDAY: THE WAY OF THE CROSS - A Dramatic Service.

The Way of The Cross
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R:   The service tonight is based on the Stations of The Cross - a
     devotion that was developed in the Middle Ages by the
     Franciscans as a way of allowing people who could not travel
     to the Holy Land to walk where Christ walked on the day of his
     passion.  By the end of the 17th century many churches had
     stations, or stops, ranged at intervals along their walls -
     each with a cross and under that cross a representation of an
     event in the passion narrative.  Nine of the fourteen stations
     are taken directly from scripture - the other five come out of
     the earliest traditions of the church.  

C:   Tonight we want you to take a die - and hold it during the
     service.  (Ushers distribute the dice) It is yours to keep as
     a reminder of this evening.  With the exception of the first
     hymn - we would like everyone to remain seated during the
     service.   We will proceed after that hymn to move through the
     stations of the cross.  Each station has a devotion wherein
     Richard will speak - then I - and then Richard will pray or
     speak a second time.  Immediately after the prayer we ask you
     to sing the verse or verses printed in the bulletin.  Anne and
     the choir will lead us in these responses. 

R:   It is our prayer that you will relax - and enter into the
     experience of Christ's passion, that you may know the meaning
     of what our Lord has done for us.  Let us prepare for our
     worship now by standing to sing "There is  A Green Hill Far

HYMN: There is a Green Hill Far Away (entire)

STATION ONE: Jesus is Condemned to Death
R:   It is Friday - early in the morning.  Jesus is brought from
     Caiaphas the High Priest to Pontius Pilate, the Governor, on
     trumped-up charges of treason and is condemned to death.

C:   The cries of, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" still ring in my
     ears.  The picture of Pilate sitting on the judge's bench
     asking the crowd of leaders and people, "Shall I crucify your
     King?" and their response, "We have no king but the Emperor."
     is an image that haunts me.  It haunts me because of the
     callousness and injustice of it all.  The world is often so
     unjust.  But mostly it haunts me because I see this injustice,
     this callousness sometimes in myself.  Lord, when do I see you
     hungry, sick and helpless and do not reach out to you?

R:   O, Lord Jesus, help us all to remember why you came to us and
     how we responded.  Give us grace to reach out to you in love
     and justice.
SUNG RESPONSE Based on Hymn: "Were You There?"

Were you there when they judged the Son of God?  Were you there?
Were you there when they judged the Son of God?
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble
Were you there when they judged the Son of God?

STATION TWO: Jesus Accepts His Cross
R:   A heavy cross is thrust into Jesus' arms.  He is ordered to
     carry it to the site of His execution.  Jesus accepts the
     cross.  Carrying it by himself, he goes out to the Place of
     the Skull - Golgotha - to be crucified with two other men.

C:   He went out carrying his cross ....  Humanity is burdened with
     many crosses - war, hunger and famine, greed and poverty,
     sickness and death.  My neighbours bear their crosses.  Some
     there are who mourn, some who struggle to survive financially,
     some who are in fear and loneliness.  Jesus went out carrying
     his cross alone.  He knows what it is like to carry a heavy

R:   Lord, you know how to carry a burden.  Teach us how to bear
     each others burdens and how to turn to you for grace and

SUNG RESPONSE Based on Hymn: "Were You There?"

Were you there when he took the Cross for you?  Were you there?
Were you there when he took the Cross for you?
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble
Were you there when they judged the Son of God?

STATION THREE: Jesus Falls the First Time
R:   The cross is heavy and the road to Calvary, the road to
     Golgotha - the place of death - is long.  Jesus, weary from
     lack of sleep, loneliness, fear, and the beatings he received
     slumps to the ground.  Soldiers quickly drag him to his feet

C:   All around Jesus are the mockers and those who take delight in
     human misery.  It is hot and sticky in the crowded little
     street.  The air is filled with foreboding on this day of
     Preparation for Passover.  These people should have their
     hearts on pondering the things of their God.  Instead they are
     bent, in God's name, to do this evil.  The world is filled
     with people, it seems, who have fallen and struggle to rise
     and there are no hands, not even rough ones to help.  Do I,
     too, mock him by my unthinking, uncaring gruffness?

R:   Jesus, so much of our wickedness rises out of our selfishness
     and fear.  So much bad happens when we fail to honour you. 
     Forgive us.

SUNG RESPONSE: "Alone Thou Goest Forth"

Alone thou goest forth, O Lord, in sacrifice to die:
Is this thy sorrow naught to us who pass unheeding by?

Our sins, not thine, thou bearest, Lord; make us thy sorrow, feel,
till through our pity and our shame love answers love's appeal.

STATION FOUR: Jesus Meets His Mother
R:   In horror - stunned, numb - Mary watches.  Her son, who
     glances at her in his agony, is being dragged off to his

C:   The look on Mary's face.  The anguish and the pain as she
     meets Jesus' eyes.  The look that he flashes her.  I could not
     tell what he said in that glance.  Whatever it was she stood
     there in anguish.  What mother would not feel the agony of
     Mary's helplessness and seeming loss?  In a world filled with
     death and destruction from wars and earthquakes, from riots
     and terror to drought and starvation, have we lost the ability
     to comprehend and feel compassion in the face of tremendous

R:   Lord Jesus, help us to remember Mary your mother as she stood
     alone in grief.  Help us to remember all the other Marys of
     this world when they suffer.  May we be a true source of grace
     and comfort, comforted as we are, by you.

SUNG RESPONSE: "At the Cross Her Vigil Keeping" 

Who upon that mother gazing, in her anguish so amazing, born of
woman, would not weep?

For his people's sins chastised she beheld her Son despised,
scourged, and crowned with thorns entwined.

STATION FIVE: Simon Cyrene Helps Jesus Carry the Cross
R:   Jesus is faltering under the load.  The soldiers fear that he
     might die along the way.  They seize Simon Cyrene, put the
     cross on his shoulders, too, as he stands behind Jesus and
     make him help shoulder the load.

C:   A perfect stranger, coming into the city, just happens to be
     at the wrong place at the wrong time.  He was grabbed and
     forced to take the cross.  Was he reluctant?  Was I?  I longed
     to help Jesus but I was afraid.  I was relieved when they did
     picked someone out of the crowd to help.  I was ashamed that
     I could not bring myself to step out of character, out of my
     role to help the man.

R:   Thank you God for strangers in our midst, who often
     unwittingly show us what to do and how to do it.  Open our
     eyes and hearts; enlarge our vision.

SUNG RESPONSE: "Take Up Your Cross"

Take up your cross, the Saviour said, if you would my disciple be;
deny yourself, the world forsake, and humbly follow after me.

Take up your cross, nor heed the shame, and let your foolish pride be still;
your Lord for you endured to die upon a cross, on Calvary's hill.

STATION SIX: Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus
R:   As Jesus passes by, a woman - Veronica we call her - reaches
     out of the press of the crowd and lovingly, gently wipes the
     blood and the sweat from Jesus' face.

C:   I am stunned.  Even the crowd quiets for a moment.  What she
     has done is so full of love and compassion and courage.  Would
     that there were more like her on this earth.  Are there? 
     Anywhere?  Lord?  

R:   Please help us Lord to share the crosses that others bear and
     to wipe away their tears.

SUNG RESPONSE: "O Love That Will Not Let Me Go"

O love that will not let me go,I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe, that in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain, I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain, and feel the promise is not vain
That morn shall tearless be.

STATION SEVEN: Jesus Falls the Second Time
R:   Jesus falls again, despite the help of Simon.  He lies
     sprawled in the dirt, sweat beading on his face, mingling with
     the blood from the cuts on his forehead and the dust of these
     well-travelled streets.  The soldiers, impatient and anxious
     to be over this job, roughly drag him to his feet again,
     cursing him.

C:   My heart wrenches.  My stomach churns.  I feel my own sweat
     upon my brow.  I can only guess at his agony.  The weight of
     the cross is too much and he is very weak.  He is bearing a
     heavy burden like so many others in my society and has been
     forced once again to his knees - like them.  How do they feel
     as they watch this?  Did they recognize their own pain?  Did
     they try to hide that pain by laughing at it, like me?  Did
     they reject that pain by jeering at him, like me?

R:   Lord, we have offended greatly.  We have shrugged off the
     burdens of others so carelessly.  Forgive us.

SUNG RESPONSE: "Let Us Break Bread Together"

He has fallen to the ground, on his knees,
He has fallen to the ground, on his knees,
When I fall down on my knees with my face to the rising sun,
Oh, Lord, have mercy on me.

STATION EIGHT: Jesus Speaks to the Weeping Women
R:   A large crowd of women have followed Jesus' path to Golgotha. 
     They are weeping and wailing in traditional mourning for this
     man, their friend.  They are overcome by their grief and by
     their helplessness.  Jesus says to them, "Don't weep for me
     but for yourselves and your children."  Your tears are not

C:   They cry, these women, like I am crying inside.  But our tears
     are not enough.  They cannot stop the agony.  They cannot feed
     the hungry.  They cannot bring peace.  "If you must weep," he
     says, "weep for your own pitifulness and lack."  There is
     another way.  I know it in my heart.  We must move beyond the
     weeping.  We must also act.  But I cannot.

R:   Help us Lord in our tears to remember that we must also act.


O sacred head, sore wounded, with grief and shame weighed down;
now scornfully surrounded by thorns, thine only crown:
how art thou pale with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn;
how does that visage languish, which once was bright as morn!

STATION NINE: Jesus Falls the Third Time
R:   No sleep, nothing to eat or drink since supper the eve before,
     the interrogations, the scourging, the mockery - they have all
     taken their toll.  Jesus falls again to the dust and grime of
     the crowded street of Jerusalem amidst the noise of weeping
     and heckling.

C:   This is almost too much.  How much more will he, will "we"
     have to endure?  Jesus has become a spectacle.  The laughter
     as he struggles once more to his feet is awful.  How can they
     laugh?  Can't they see he's trying?  Don't they feel any pity? 
     I should talk.  My patience is wearing thin to get this over
     with and go home.  At least I can go home.  This poor creature

R:   O Lord, you have put up with so much from us.  How great your
     despair must have been that day.  Teach us Lord from your
     example to not add to the pain of this world.

SUNG RESPONSE: "Man of Sorrows"

Man of sorrows, wrapt in grief, bow thine ear to our relief;
Thou for us the path hast trod of the righteous wrath of God;
Thou the cup of fire hast drained till its light alone remained.
Lamb of love!  we look to thee: hear our mournful litany.

STATION TEN: Jesus is Stripped of His Garments
R:   Finally they arrive at the God-forsaken place where he will be
     crucified.  People dump their garbage here.  Hurriedly,
     roughly, his clothes are stripped from his back leaving him
     naked in front of the crowd - naked, exhausted and humiliated.

C:   Stripped naked.  Nothing left, not even dignity.  Is this His
     poverty or is it our's?  We took his clothes, we took his
     dignity much like this world strips naked hundreds and
     thousands of its people every day with its' greed and its'
     uncaring.  Our self-ish-ness stands exposed for what it is
     when we stripped Jesus naked.

R:   Dear Lord, we reach out and grasp greedily for so much,
     searching for what will satisfy.  We do not know how to let go
     of things and let you in.  Help us to choose what will bring
     healing and wholeness.

SUNG RESPONSE: "We Meet You, O Christ"

We meet you, O Christ, in many a guise; 
your image we see in simple and wise,
You live in a palace, exist in a shack, 
We see you, the gardener, a tree on your back.

In millions alive, away and abroad, 
involved in our life you live down the road.
Imprisoned in systems you long to be free.
We see you, Lord Jesus, still bearing your tree.

STATION ELEVEN: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross
R:   Roughly, contemptuously, the soldiers thrust Jesus down onto
     his cross.  Holding him down - some sit on him - they pound
     the nails through his hands and feet.  After he is lifted up,
     the soldiers throw dice for his clothing to fulfil the
     scripture, "They divided my clothes among themselves, and for
     my clothing they cast lots."

C:   The ring of the hammer on the nails, the sickening sound of
     flesh and bone crunching echo in my brain.  I'll never, never
     ever forget this.  Somehow this one crucifixion is different
     than all the others I've been to.  The torture, for that's
     what it was, has not stopped.  It still happens every day. 
     From utter brutality to the unkind word that flays the soul -
     it still happens.  But the nonchalance, the ease with which
     the soldiers threw the dice beneath his feet as if nothing
     were happening horrifies me today.  I know - I was there.  I
     threw the dice with the rest.

R:   O God, our God, we have forsaken thee, fled from the crosses
     you ask us to bear, turned to endless games and sport to numb
     our pain.  That day you did not flee.  Help us to turn to you,
     to embrace you and the yoke you have offered us.

SUNG RESPONSE: "O Come and Mourn With Me A While"

O come and mourn with me a while; O come ye to the Saviour's side;
O come together let us mourn: Jesus our Lord is crucified.

Have we no tears to shed for him, while soldiers scoff and foes deride?
Ah! look how patiently he hangs: Jesus, our Lord, is crucified.

STATION TWELVE: Jesus Dies on the Cross
R:   The nightmare of pain and suffering, the agony of betrayal and
     loneliness come to an end.  Jesus saw his mother and the
     disciple whom he loved standing beside her and he said to his
     mother, "Woman, here is your son," and to the disciple, "Here
     is your mother."  The thief on the cross beside him cries out,
     "Remember me, O Lord, when you come to your kingdom."  After
     three mercifully brief hours on the cross, suspended between
     earth and sky, Jesus dies.  Choking on the hyssop dipped in
     wine he gasps out the words, "It is finished."  He bows his
     head and gives up his spirit. 

C:   I watched.  I heard the words he spoke.  I saw his agony.  I
     felt the spear dig in his flesh.  I saw the blood and water
     pour out down his side, down his thighs to the ground. 
     Violence and death.  I hung my head.  I could no longer see
     for the tears that flowed, like his blood, down my face.  I
     could not stop the words, "Truly this man was God's Son!"  I
     felt overcome.  Why did I have a hand in this?  How have I let
     it happen?

R:   "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?  Why are you so far
     from helping me, from the words of my groaning?  Yet you are
     holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.  I am poured out
     like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is
     like wax; it is melted within my breast.  My mouth is dried up
     like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me
     in the dust of death."  (Psalm 22:1, 3, 14-15)

SUNG RESPONSE: "Throned Upon The Awful Tree"

Throned upon the awful tree, King of grief I watch with thee;
darkness veils thine anguished face; none its lines of woe can trace;
none can tell what pangs unknown hold thee silent and alone:

Silent through those three dread hours, wrestling with the evil powers,
left alone with human sin, gloom around thee and within,
till the appointed time is nigh, till the Lamb of God may die.

STATION THIRTEEN: Jesus is Taken Down From the Cross
R:   He is dead.  His body hangs limply, heavily.  The darkness
     which had filled the sky since noon begins to fade.  A wild
     rumour that the curtain of the temple had been torn in two
     from top to bottom was circulating.  The soldiers yank out the
     nails to get him down.  Everyone, including the women who had
     followed him and were looking on from a distance, stands back
     awkwardly, and watches the scene before them.  Bleeding,
     broken, limp and heavy in his death - they place him in the
     arms of his mother.

C:   How did she feel?  How did she feel?  Mary, the mother of
     Jesus, how did she feel?  With infinite tenderness, she gently
     held him and wiped his bloodied brow as her tears fell on his
     lifeless body.  How did she feel?  She shooes away the hands
     that would have parted her from her son.  "Just one more
     moment," she whispers.  How did she feel?

R:   " I cry to you, O Lord; I say, 'You are my refuge, my portion
     in the land of the living.'  Give heed to my cry, for I am
     brought very low."  (Psalm 142:5-6)

SUNG RESPONSE: "Rock of Ages"

Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee;
let the water and the blood, from thy riven side which flowed,
be of sin the double cure, cleanse me from its guilt and power.

STATION FOURTEEN: The Burial of Jesus
R:   Relatives and friends carry his body to the gravesite - to the
     tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, a rich man who was also a
     disciple of Jesus.  They lay his body gently in the new tomb
     carved out of the hill, wrapped in a clean linen cloth.  They
     roll a boulder across the entrance and silently withdraw.

C:   The place of the tomb was in a garden.  This garden seemed
     strangely silent and still as I stole into it to watch them. 
     My mind and my body were in shock.  Images registered on my
     brain but I felt nothing.  It was over.  The crucifixion was
     over.  This Jesus had died.  But my life would never be the
     same.  He was gone.  Gone.  And I did not know him.  I went
     away and wept bitterly.

R:   "God did not withhold nor spare even his own Son, but gave him
     up for all of us."  (Romans 8:32)
     "If you love me, you will keep my commandments....Where I am
     going you cannot come.  I give you a new commandment, that you
     love one another.  Just as I have loved you, you also should
     love one another.  By this everyone will know you are my
     disciples..."  (John 14:15 & John 13:33-35)

SUNG RESPONSE: "Were You There?"

Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?  Were you there?
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?

(adapted from St. Joseph Sunday Missal: Prayerbook and Hymnal, 994)
C:   Lord, when you were buried it seemed like the end of
     everything you promised and stood for.  But it wasn't, it was
     only the beginning.  As we travel tonight from the Crucifixion
     through the Vigil of Easter to the Resurrection, be with us in
     a special way to help us recall and reflect in our hearts who
     you are and what you have done for us. 

R:   Father, send down your abundant blessing upon your people who
     have devoutly recalled the death of your Son.  Grant them
     pardon and bring them comfort.  May their faith grow stronger
     and their eternal salvation be assured.  We ask this through
     Christ our Lord.  Amen.


copyright - Rev. Richard J. Fairchild & Charlene E. Fairchild 1994 - 2006
            please acknowledge the appropriate author if citing these sermons.

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