Tuesday, April 15, 2014

By Your Holy Cross

I went to a Stations of the Cross service at a local Episcopal church tonight. While I've grown up Methodist, I went to 3rd-6th grades at a school associated with an Episcopal church, so I grew rather fond of the stations.
The service tonight went through eight stations, and each one started with this:
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world

And then each station ended with this, followed by the ringing of a gong:
Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One, have mercy upon us.

It was a short service -- only about thirty minutes -- but it presented the Passion in a very visual and physical way. There was a candle and an image or object at most stations, and we walked as a group from station to station. At the fourth station, "Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem," we even all tore off a piece of herb, dipped it in a dish, and ate it.

At each station, we had the beginning response, part of the story, another response based on scripture, a prayer, and then the ending. Here are some of my favorite lines from the prayers:
Assist us mercifully with your help, O Lord God of our salvation, that we may enter with joy upon the contemplation of those mighty acts.

Teach your Church, O Lord, to mourn the sins of which it is guilty, and to repent and forsake them; that, by your pardoning grace, the results of our iniquities may not be visited upon our children and our children's children.

Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace.

Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection. (This really is my favorite, oh my goodness. Grant us so to die... that we may evermore live.)

Grant that we who have been buried with him in the waters of baptism may find our perfect rest in his eternal and glorious kingdom.

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