Jibstay

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Stations of the Cross

Pastors are proprietary, and senior pastors are very proprietary. I know what I like to do and how to do it. I have my ways for doing weddings, funerals, communion, Sunday mornings, preaching, etc. You can call it good habit or deep rut. Holy week is one of those deep places for me: Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter. They fit a fabric and total story: procession, intimate table fellowship and lessons of love, devastating loss at the cross and the darkening of space, and the brilliance of resurrection.
So when the staff ganged up on me several months ago about doing Holy Week a little differently, my response was immediate and reflexive: no thank you, this is my territory, we'll do it my way. They must have prayed for me, because they came back with their proposals, graciously but persistently: could we do things differently?
I said "yes" to both Maundy Thursday (that I blogged about previously) and to the Good Friday Stations of the cross. Instead of being held in the church, they suggested that we go to the neighborhood nearby where 12 of our families lost their homes. Because it is circular, we could walk a route, making 7 stops at 7 home-slabs.

At each stop, a staff member led traveling groups of 10-12 in a responsive reading about that stage of Jesus' journey to the cross with a unison prayer. Over each sign, was the name of the family who lived there and the station of the cross.

We were not sure about the turn-out. Friday afternoon turned in to intermittent showers. We had a rain-plan for the sanctuary, but decided at the last minute (staff vote) to hold it outside even with the threat of rain. About 100 people showed up and the sun broke through making for powerful community experience of walking the stations of the cross through the ashes of the fire last November.
I'm glad the staff is patient with me!

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