Please click the image above ^^^ to open this companion booklet of Christ with us in this time of loss.
In these most recent days of Lent, we’ve witnessed more and more of our country and our way of life come to a standstill.
As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, countless people are experiencing tremendous loss: loss of life, loss of health, loss of industry and income. For those who have lost loved ones, there is also the loss of the traditional rituals of funerals and communities gathering to grieve together.
Smaller losses are also devastating. Each day, it seemed, something closed. Those familiar markers we have counted on, socially, spiritually, traditionally – Opening Day of baseball, proms and graduations, Holy Week – will not happen publicly.
Weddings and vacations are postponed. The predictability we take for granted is gone as well: that there will be eggs and toilet paper at the grocery, that we can safely touch a doorknob or reach for someone’s hand, go to the dentist or the movies. And for many, perhaps, the most distressing certainty in this time of vast uncertainty: that we are to cope separated from friends and family when we need them most.
Our faith reminds us: we are never separated from the love of God. We do not need holy places to be in direct contact with God. We can be daughters and sons of God anywhere.
The ancient devotion known as Stations of the Cross evolved so that anyone anywhere could journey to the Holy Land – the archetypal goal of early Christian pilgrims – without leaving home. Most local churches displayed images of Jesus’ short journey from Pilate’s palace in Jerusalem, where he was condemned to death, to the cross and then to his tomb. Anywhere in the world, the faithful could walk with Jesus, see him embrace his mother, meet the daughters of Jerusalem, be crucified and buried.
Loving our neighbor while many of us are hunkered down in our homes may be more challenging this Holy Week, but we are still called to find ways to take care of one another. To that end, recognizing the grace that is the “domestic church” – families, in all their forms, shaping the larger faith community – let us unite in praying the Stations of the Cross with and for one another. This is a beautiful expression of the core of our faith, that Jesus embraced the dramas of every human life, our triumphs and failures, our joys and sorrows.
In the Stations of the Cross, we remember how Christ is with us, particularly when we have lost the way forward. Each station recalls a moment when Jesus stopped. He stops to speak with people in compassion; he stops when he falls to the ground exhausted, unable to go on; he stops at Golgotha because that is the end of the road. Jesus is with us now, as we are stopped in our tracks, wondering how we are to carry on. Jesus carries on, making his way to the cross and to the resurrection, and he brings us with him in hope.
This booklet and its reflections are the loving work of Martha Dudich for Trinity Buckingham.
The cover art is by Joan Brand-Landkamer, artist-in-residence, St. James Cathedral, Seattle WA.
The images accompanying the written reflections are the work of Ken Cooke and were sourced from the Church of St. George the Martyr in Newbury, England.