Church offers Way of the Cross

Published 12:01 am Thursday, March 20, 2008

The days of late winter grow longer, warming the earth, coaxing forth the first early blooms. The dull grays of winter will shortly be replaced with a wash of color as spring foliage awakens.

This transitional period coincides with the Christian season of Lent, the 40 weekdays prior to Easter Sunday when followers are encouraged to examine their lives and seek a renewed relationship with Jesus Christ.

The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Vidalia is once again sponsoring the Stations of the Cross. This devotion is an adaptation to local usage of a custom widely observed by pilgrims to Jerusalem. Prayers were offered at a series of places in Jerusalem traditionally associated with our Lord’s passion and death.

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The number of stations originally varied widely and finally became fixed at 14. Of these, eight are based directly events recorded in the Gospel readings of the Bible.

The remaining six stations (3, 4, 6, 7, 9, and 13) are based on the inferences from the Gospel account or from pious legend.

Our form of the stations, or the Way of Christ, is appropriate for public walking service or as a private walking devotional, particularly on the Fridays of Lent. Traditionally, the stations are walked before a series of plain wooden crosses placed along the walls of the church.

Good Shepherd’s Stations are located on an outdoor pathway on the church grounds and offer a simple but powerful means of prayer and contemplation. The stations may be walked by individuals or by groups. The 14 stations commemorate the actions and events of Jesus in the last hours of his life on earth. The stations are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The stations will remain in place long after Easter.

The stations are:

1. Jesus is condemned

2. Jesus takes his cross

3. Jesus falls

4. Jesus meets his mother

5. Simon helps Jesus

6. Veronica helps Jesus

7. Jesus falls again

8. Jesus consoles the women

9. The third fall

10. Jesus is stripped

11. Jesus is crucified

12. Jesus dies

13. Jesus is taken down

14. Jesus is buried

The Stations of the Cross are open to the public with no admission fee. Individuals or groups seeking more information about the stations may contact the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd by phone, 318-336-7405.

Good Shepherd Episcopal Church is located at 806 Concordia Avenue in Vidalia. Parking is available in the church parking lot or along Concordia Avenue for participants walking the Stations.