Every year our parish takes one Friday evening during Lent and holds a soup supper. They serve the best macaroni and cheese (no seriously, I mean the BEST, better than the cardboard box stuff my kids insist on at least once a week!) and better yet, once again, I don’t have to cook. I’m beginning to think this not having to cook thing is becoming too popular and may be the real reason we moms attend so many church dinners!
What makes this event really special however is the Shadow Stations of the Cross put on by our children. The 7th grade class, George’s class this year, stands behind a giant white sheet with a light behind them creating shadows. The shadows portray the 14 Stations of the Cross Jesus endured for us.
Between each Shadow Station, is a slide of a real life, modern day person or group of people enduring suffering similar to the suffering of Jesus and His followers during that final walk, crucifixion, and period immediately following His death. As the slide is presented, the children take turns reading a prayer asking the Lord to help them carry their Crosses and to allow them to share the burdens of others in a way that applies to those suffering today.
Tonight, I’d like to share the photos and the Stations with you.
Shadow Stations of the Cross at Lent
I. The First Station – Jesus is Condemned to Death
II. The Second Station – Jesus Carries His Cross
III. The Third Station – Jesus Falls for the First Time
IV. The Fourth Station – Jesus Meets His Mother
V. Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus Carry the Cross
VI. Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus
VII. Jesus Falls the Second Time
VIII. Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem
IX. Jesus Falls for the Third Time
X. Jesus is Stripped of His Clothing
XI. Jesus is Nailed to the Cross
XII. Jesus Dies on the Cross
The Shroud of Turin
This is the final slide. It is not part of the Stations of the Cross, but I included it because it is so absolutely, vitally important that we remember that the “story” of Jesus’ death is not a story at all. It is a historical fact. Jesus was a real life man, as my children would say. His perfect Love for each of us is real in real life, and because of that real life Love, He really did suffer and die for us, for our sins, so that we may be made worthy…
Dear Jesus, Thank you for carrying the cross of my sins. Thank you for taking all my sins, all my bad thoughts, words, and deeds and bearing them on your shoulders. Help me, my Lord, when my own suffering seems overbearing, to think of the suffering you endured for me. Help me to use my pain to identify more with you and the pain you suffered. Help me see the ways I contribute to and sometimes deserve my own pain while you were all good and deserving of nothing but adoration, gratitude, and Love.
Help me to use my suffering to draw closer to you, oh Lord, and, while I lean on you drawing from your infinite strength, please help me to see more clearly the ways my brothers and sisters are suffering and sorrowful. Help me see more clearly the crosses others bear, and give me the strength, persistence, and love to help them shoulder their burdens and lead them to your strength.
And always Lord, help me to remember the Good you have given me. Remind me that, no matter how long my earthly crosses last, they are always temporary and that I can always see your Powerful Goodness at work even here among suffering when I open my heart to receive your gifts. Thank you my Savior and my Strength. ~ Amen
Thank you for joining me in the Shadow Stations of the Cross. Thank you to all the children, catechists, and others who helped make this night beautiful. Thank you especially to Jesus Christ for choosing to live and die for us. To those of you who are suffering, carrying your own crosses, you are in our prayers.
To learn more about the Stations of the Cross, please click here.