Resources for Holy Week #2: Stations of the Cross

This year I thought that I would separate out the stations of the Cross from other Good Friday resources as I know many churches like to have Stations of the Cross available for people to walk throughout Holy Week. This year I tried to put together a collection from around the world attempting to highlight some of the challenging issues of our turbulent world that are portrayed. Most of the images are far from the traditional stations of the cross though I have ended the collection with a mimed rendition of Sandi Patty’s Via Dolorosa. If there are other international images you think should be a part of this collection please add them in the comments. Enjoy!

From Australia

Stations of the Cross by Indigenous Australian Shirley Purdue via

From New Zealand 

This series comes from Hamilton New Zealand

Cityside Baptist church in Auckland New Zealand has held an exhibit of contemporary icons to reflect on at Easter for a number of years. The photos shown were taken at their 2002 and 2004 presentations.

From Middle East and Sudan – 

Here is a heartrending presentation of the stations of the Cross using images of refugees from Iraq and Sudan as spectators and participants.  (The stations of the Cross are down the side of the post)

I also came across this  interesting set of Jordanian stamps which  Mansour Mouasher has found depicting the Stations of the Cross.

From South America

very powerful presentation of the stations from the perspective of liberation theology by Adolfo Pérez Esquivel of Argentina

From Asia

I enjoyed meditating on this series by a nun in Bangalore India

And another very beautiful, Korean Stations of the Cross by Korean sculptor Choi Jong-tae from Myeong-dong Cathedral.

From Africa

I love this stations of the cross from Hekima College, Nairobi, Kenya. The designs were created by Father Angelbert M. Vang SJ from Yaoude, from the Cameroon who was a well-known historian, poet, musician and designer and executed by a Kenyan artist.

This meditation is a poignant reminder of those who struggle daily to carry crosses we cannot even imagine.

From U.K.

This Stations of the Cross series by Chris Gollon was commissioned by the Church of England for the Church of St John on Bethnal Green, in East London. Gollon took the unusual step of using his own son as the model for Jesus, his daughter as Mary, and his wife as Veronica. Fr Alan Green is cast as Nicodemus, and David Tregunna (Gollon’s friend and agent) as Joseph of Arimathea. The juxtaposition of real figures with imagined ones creates a heightened sense of reality. I think that the images are both compelling and powerful.

From Netherlands

I found this mimed rendition of Sandy Patti’s Via Dolorosa very refreshing.



Resources for Holy Week, from Palm Sunday to Good Friday & Easter Sunday

As you can imagine there are a huge number of resources available these days for the celebration of Holy Week.  Here are a few I found that I would recommend.

CRIVoice is still the best site I know for daily lectionary readings and information on the seasons

John Chandler is continuing his PassionWeek tradition which started two years ago with the @passionweek twitter account which follows the events of Jesus as he would have experienced them in the days between Palm Sunday and Easter.  This year, the updates will also be posting to Facebook — and to a Passion Week website .

Sacredise has some great Holy week resources available including an excellent Palm Sunday reflection

Faith At Home has some excellent resources for celebrating as a family.  They are very helpfully spelled out:  Palm Sunday   Mon-Thu   Good Friday   Holy Saturday   Great Vigil   Easter Day

Stations of the Cross – in 360-degree ‘virtual reality’ format.

And my favourite Stations of the Cross from past years:

Here is a very powerful presentation of the stations of the Cross using images of refugees from Iraq and Sudan as spectators and participants.  (The stations of the Cross are down the side of the post)

very powerful presentation of the stations from the perspective of liberation theology by Adolfo Pérez Esquivel of Argentina

Stations of the Cross from Hamilton New Zealand 

Cityside Baptist Church in New Zealand

And this powerful presentation produced by Jesuit Brother Edward Sheehy is a very powerful presentation of the passion story

God’s Kingdom: Arts for the Wider Community by Lynne Baab

The following post  comes from Lynne M. Baab the author of numerous books, most recently Reaching Out in a Networked World, which considers the ways congregations can express their identity and values in an online world. She has also written several books and Bible study guides on spiritual disciplines, including Sabbath Keeping and Fasting, and lots of articles that are posted on her website, . She is a Presbyterian minister with a PhD in communication, and she teaches pastoral theology at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand

God’s Kingdom: Arts for the Wider Community

I sensed the presence of the Kingdom of God recently when I heard two people speak at a conference. Both are leaders of groups of Christian artists who create installations in public parks. Dave White helps facilitate a group of artists in Hamilton, New Zealand, who create stations of the cross during Lent. They did it for the first time in 2004, and 350 people went through. In 2008 and 2009, attendance topped 3,000, spread over eight consecutive evenings. (The 2010 stations were postponed until 2011.) The stations are viewed in order, so often there’s a line of people waiting to enter the park 45 minutes before the stations open.

The artists create fifteen stations, covering Jesus’ last days, plus the resurrection. Dave used the words “static,” “interactive” and “reflective” to describe different kinds of stations. For the artists, the process begins months earlier when they meet together to read and meditate on scriptures related to the 15 stations. Dave asks the artists to sit with the scriptures and write notes about their responses. Then the “combat sessions” begin. The artists discuss three stations each evening, laying all their ideas on the table, sharing thoughts and building upon each other’s ideas.

The whole process, Dave said, is “ego-deflating.” Often one artist’s idea gets assigned to someone else to implement. The stations need to be set up and taken down each night, so a team of 70 volunteers is involved. Dave reflected, “The set up and take down have been a blessing because the group jells into a community.” Here’s the website for the 2009 stations: A second group of New Zealand artists creates a Christmas peace labyrinth every year in a park in Christchurch. Bales of hay form a pathway, and stations within the labyrinth raise questions about peace in various settings in everyday life, such as peace in the workplace, the home, the environment, and between nations.

Peter Majendie, who with his wife leads the group of artists and craftspeople who create the labyrinth, said, “I want to make people feel so deeply they can’t help but think.” Here’s the website of the peace labyrinth:

Why do these two large scale installations make me feel as if I’m getting a glimpse of the Kingdom of heaven? Why do they lift my heart in gratitude for these faithful artists? To me, these projects represent the best of the Christian Gospel. Because they care about people who wouldn’t darken the doors of a church, these artists create thought-provoking experiences in public spaces, providing an access point to issues of faith. The organizers, volunteers and artists believe that the Christian gospel has relevance to the everyday life of people who are both near to God and far from God, so they are willing to bring aspects of that Gospel into public spaces in order to demonstrate that reality. They spend a lot of energy creating experiences that help people think about what really matters to them and who God might be in their lives. Because artists are involved, the spaces draw on the five senses and integrate emotions and thoughts like all good art can do. The spaces help people think and feel in ways that may be beyond words, but that touch the inner self.

The artists rely on carpenters, plumbers and electricians to help them build the stations, allowing trades people to use their skills in new ways. The set-up and take-down allows involvement of others as well. Community is built between people who normally might not have much contact with each other. One of the amusing roles on the team in Hamilton is “tract buster.”

Some evangelical churches view the stations as a perfect opportunity for passing out tracts to the people who are waiting in line to get in. Someone on the stations team, the “tract buster,” gently tells them to take the tracts elsewhere. The stations team has decided to let the art and experiences of the stations stand on their own, without making explicit connections to the four spiritual laws or other factual presentations of the gospel.

Their commitment to helping people experience aspects of biblical truth, without necessarily explaining it, raises many fascinating questions about what it means to preach the gospel in our time. The art, the teamwork, the emotions and thoughts evoked – all of it in public parks – made me rejoice in the presence of God’s Kingdom when I heard about these two teams of committed people and what they do.

More Good Friday Prayers


Jesus is on his way toward the Cross.  His disciples have fled and he is alone, alone with our suffering and our pain.  Alone to face the wrath of the Roman Empire and the fury of the crowd.  Alone and feeling abandoned by God.  Yet not alone for all of humanity walks with him.  We stumble and fall as he did.  We are abused and spat upon.  We feel despised and rejected – by ourselves, by others, by our world.  God have mercy.  Free us from our prisons and bring us new life

God who created us suffers because of us

God who died upon the cross suffers for us

God who dwells with us suffers with us

And in God’s suffering we find hope

God, you suffering brings us salvation

Without you the horrors of human suffering would be unbearable

Your story of life, death and resurrection gives life meaning

Your suffering frees us from our prisons

Because of your suffering a new world is breaking into ours

May we live this day in the knowledge of your pain

May we live this day in the assurance of your love

May we live this day in the hope of the resurrection.  


Maundy Thursday reflections


Tibebe Terffa - Ethiopia - used by permission CMU Winnipeg

Tibebe Terffa - Ethiopia - used by permission CMU Winnipeg

Today is Maundy Thursday the last day of Lent and the day on which we remember the Last Supper and particularly Jesus washing the disciples’ feet.  I was particularly impressed this morning by Beth Stedman’s reflections here in which she asks

How can I enter into Christ’s command to “love one another as I have loved you” today? How can I commemorate and celebrate and remember the miraculous act of the God of the universe stooping down to wash the feet of dirty and sinful human beings – of stooping down to serve them and to serve me?”

Here is another powerful reflection by Doug Jones here

We all will face our own Gethsemane (if we haven’t already), where our desire and will collides with the clear will of God. When we come to this point we must face that teaching of dying to self, of taking up our cross and following – we can observe this is not mere words – this is Jesus’ example before us in this Holy Week.

And another from Ryan Lind here 

A far-off god would never be so silly as to entrust men with now-clean feet to walk about the world serving bread and wine.  But a God who became a man, who knew these men, even the one who would turn him over, even the one who would cower before a girl in order to deny this God, he might understand the power of liberation.  

Here from Joyce Titular in the Philippines is a very inspiring Stations of the Cross with some challenging and thought provoking questions for us to contemplate.  

My own thoughts this morning revolved around ! Corinthians 11: 28, 29 

Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink of the cup.  For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgement on themselves.  

I had never thought of discerning the body of Christ before as a need to consider God’s worldwide body with whom I share every time I take communion.  How can I fully enter into the Eucharist when some that i share it with are starving, or oppressed or persecuted?  Part of our remembrance this Maundy Thursday is also the giving of the new commandment love one another as I have loved you.  Again I find myself thinking of how far short I have fallen of this commandment.  How else should I be reaching out with the love of God this Easter Season?  

This Lenten synchroblog has inspired some wonderful reflections and ideas.    I want to thank all that have participated so far and look forward to continuing to reflect on our faith throughout the Easter season as well where hopefully we will answer some of the questions about how to be God’s love into our world.  If you have not downloaded the Easter Guide yet it is available here

Holy Week and Broken Connections

As we move with Jesus toward the Cross many are reflecting on the deeper significance of this for our lives and our world.  Here are some more great posts for the Lenten synchroblog that you may like to add to your reading list

Tom Grosh has provided us with two reflections this week both on Holy Week 09 and Holy Week Looking toward Easter 

Bob Fisher has also provided us with two reflections this week.  One on Broken Connections The other of Palm Sunday – Missing The Point?

JR Woodward Observing Lent Week Five

I also came across another Stations of the Cross here that I think is worth exploring too.

And don’t forget John Chandler’s Twitter walk though passion week Read more here

Enjoy and if you have any reflections or have come across good Stations of the Cross that you think should be shared more broadly I would love to hear from you.

Walking Toward the Cross

Next week is holy week and many of us are already getting ready to commemorate this extremely important part of the celebration of our faith as we walk with Jesus toward his betrayal and death.  There are so many resources out there to help us walk through this season that I feel there is little for me to add.  Over the last couple of years I have collected a variety of resources I feel are well worth a look that I have repeated the links for below.  However as many new resources become available each year I thought that I would mention the new ones I have come across this year first.  

John Chandler has set up a twitter account called passion week specifically to follow the events of the last week of Jesus life as we live in anticipation of the resurrection.  You can read about it on his blog here 

This Youtube presentation produced by Jesuit Brother Edward Sheehy is a very powerful presentation of the passion story 

I really enjoyed this one illustrated by students at St Patrick’s Catholic School in Onalaska Wisconsin 

Here is a very powerful presentation of the stations of the Cross using images of refugees from Iraq and Sudan as spectators and participants.  (The stations of the Cross are down the side of the post)

My favourites from years past are:

A very powerful presentation of the stations from the perspective of liberation theology by Adolfo Pérez Esquivel of Argentina

Stations of the Cross from Hamilton New Zealand 

Cityside Baptist Church in New Zealand 

I would love to be able to add to these resources for the future.  What are your favourite presentations of Stations of the Cross that help you to focus your reflections during this final week of Jesus life.

More Lenten Reflections for Weeks 1 & 2

Here are links to today’s reflections on Lent.

Eric: I Searched for Grace

Banu Moore: Community At Bargain Prices

MH Morgan: Healing Our Inner Brokenness

And please keep in mind that if you would like to contribute reflections but do not have a blog then you can email them to me and I will post them as guest posts.  Also I am still looking for photos not just to help with putting together a Stations of the Cross reflection for Holy Week but also to put together a Stations of the Banquet post for Pentecost (more information to follow on this)   I would love some of you to contribute to this.

New Lenten Guide Is Here


The updated Lenten Guide is now available and are working on a sequel that will expand the activities and resources into the celebration of Easter—not just the day but the whole season up to Pentecost.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I am inspired by NT Wright’s comment, “If Calvary means putting to death things in your life that need killing off if you are to flourish as a Christian and as a truly human being, then Easter should mean planting, watering and training up things in your life that ought to be blossoming…” We want to take people on a journey – not just to the cross but into the resurrection and the wonder of God’s new world.

This new Lenten guide has been updated with weekly reflections, litanies, and resources to help you on your journey. There is no charge for this resource, but we do ask that if you use it with a small group or church that you consider a donation to Mustard Seed Associates so that we can continue producing resources like this. The suggested donation is $5 per participant.

There are two ways in which you can participate in this journey through Lent and Easter.

  1. Get involved. We invite you to join us in our journey through Lent and Easter. Get together each week with a group of friends or your small group at church, use the reflections and participate in the activities.
  1. If you have a blog, join our synchroblog. This blog, during Lent and Easter will focus on the meaning of Lent and the celebration of Easter in this practical way. We already have about 40 bloggers signed up so expect this to be a spectacular Lent and Easter celebration.  Obviously this will involve far more than a simple blog post, as each person involved would need to engage in at least one of the activities listed. The most popular activity last time was the Mutunga $2 Challenge that restricts one’s food budget to $2 per person per day for a week. 

If you would like to be a part of the synchroblog, I would ask you to commit to a minimum of one week involvement during Lent and one week during the Easter season. The weeks during Lent focus on the brokenness of the world; the weeks of Easter leading up to Pentecost will focus on what is blossoming—signs of the kingdom that give us hope and encouragement. During this season, we will profile organizations and individuals that you know who are making a difference in their communities and around the world and giving hope to all of us that our lives can make a difference for God.

I am looking forward to receiving your reflections, poems, photos or other contributions.  Each week will post links to the reflections bloggers have written, as well as other resources that can help people for the following week. We will also post a series of meditation videos that you might like to use for meditation during the week. All these posts will culminate in two celebration presentations, one during Holy Week, when I will post a special “Stations of the Cross” presentation compiled from some of the ideas expressed in the blog posts and reflections that others send in. And during Pentecost, I will post another series focused on “Stations of the Banquet,” images and reflections that show the glory of God.

Please let others know about this resource and encourage them to send me reflections, photos, or ideas that can be incorporated in either the Stations of the Cross presentation or the Stations of the Banquet presentation.

Why Do We Neglect Easter?

Stations of the Cross Iona Scotland 2005

Stations of the Cross Iona Scotland 2005

I am a little late with this post that gives a brief explanation of the season of Easter as it celebrated in the church calendar because I got diverted by the sunny day and the Mustard Seed House garden work day this morning.  I also know that Easter is still a long way off but I wanted to give us plenty of time to think about how we intend to enter into this celebration and why it is so important.  So it seems very appropriate to write this while enjoying the sunshine that is very much a promise of spring to come.

I have decided too to break the post into 2 – one focused on Good Friday and the other on Easter Sunday and the Easter season so that we don’t lose the full impact of this season. Easter is the central celebration of our faith and yet in some ways it is also the most neglected.  Many emerging churches that put huge effort into celebrations of the Stations of the Cross seem to let Easter Sunday pass with hardly a mention.  For some reason we are more consumed with Jesus walk toward the Cross than we are with the wonder of the resurrection life he brings us.

No festival in the Christian calendar is more dramatic than Easter with its incredible contrast between the pain and agony of Easter Friday and the joy and celebration of resurrection Sunday. You may wonder why Easter Friday is called “good” when it is obviously a day of mourning. The good refers to the benefit that this day provided to all humankind through the death of Christ on the Cross.

I love the Good Friday service in our Episcopal church with the sanctuary somber and quiet, the altar stripped of its vestments and the cross shrouded in black. We leave the church in silence with the coldness of death echoing through our thoughts. The horror of Christ’s crucifixion reaches deep into my soul and as we read the verse “My God, My God why hast thou forsaken me,” I am often overwhelmed by memories of times when I too have felt abandoned and alone. Knowing in that moment that Christ endured more pain and suffering than I can ever imagine has the power to open a door for my own emergence out of darkness into new life.

Growing up in Australia where Good Friday was a public holiday and attendance at church an expected tradition for most Christians, following Christ through this journey was never difficult. In the United States where most people work on Good Friday I found it to be a little more challenging – and my willingness to enter into Christ’s suffering took more discipline and suffering on my part too. However there are creative ways we can become part of this somber event and enter into some of the agony that Christ must have suffered as he endured the horrors of this last day of his life.

Skeleton cross from Stations of the Cross Cityside Baptist

Skeleton cross from Stations of the Cross Cityside Baptist2003

These days churches of all traditions set up exhibits to commemorate the stages of Jesus walk towards his crucifixion called Stations of the Cross. Some like Cityside Baptist in Auckland New Zealand invite people from their community to participate in this walk with Jesus towards the cross. If this is not part of your church’s tradition, you might like to do some research on Stations of the Cross and consider ways to bring this important tradition into your congregational worship.

Think of ways to celebrate this important day with your family too. If possible take the day off work and keep your kids home from school. Set up a home made cross on your dining table or mantel. On Good Friday morning shroud the cross with black cloth. In the evening read through the gospel passages about the crucifixion. If there is time get each family member to write a poem or draw a picture that expresses their own experience of grief and sorrow over the last year. Place these at the foot of the cross. Leave the cross shrouded until Easter Sunday morning when it can be decorated with flowers. In the evening attend a Good Friday service as a family.

North Seattle Friends 2004

North Seattle Friends 2004

The following prayer is one that I wrote one Easter Friday while reflecting on my own sense of abandonment as a premature infant who spent the first month of my life in hospital. First I read Psalm 22 which not only speaks of Christ’s sense of rejection but also connected very intimately to my own feelings of alienation. Connecting the sense of desertion that an infant must feel when alone and isolated in a baby incubator to the agony of Christ’s abandonment was a therapeutic and healing experience for me

God why did you abandon me

A tiny infant born before my time

Alone and afraid caught in a web of machines

Why this pain of isolation

Deprived of a mother’s love,

Why did you leave me with no one to care

Yet I know you brought me out of the womb

Your love whispered in my mind

Soothing, comforting, embracing

You taught me to trust in you and held me in your arms

O Lord, you were never far off

My strength and my refuge, my salvation from my birth