It’s Friday and it’s Lent. In this house that means I will be packing peanut butter & jelly for lunches and making a meatless dinner (probably this easy fish dinner). It also means that we’re going to Stations of the Cross tonight.
A quick explanation – walk into any Catholic church and you’ll see 14 (sometimes 15) carvings or pictures on the walls representing the stations that Jesus walked through on His last day. During Lent most parishes hold Stations of the Cross on Friday nights and you go through each station, read a verse about what Jesus went through, say some prayers and then go to the next. There are plenty of variations – you might have lots of music; there could be a living Stations of the Cross where people act out Christ’s passion; it could be a simple kneeling and recitation. No matter how you choose to do it – it is a special form of prayer that literally walks you through the Passion.
I try to go to Stations of the Cross frequently during Lent. At our church, members of the parish sign up to lead this special prayer. It’s Stations at its simplest and usually takes less than 30 minutes. I really enjoy how it connects me to Lent. When I was a kid I HATED Stations of the Cross. There was incense involved and all this kneeling and it seemed like Father was wandering all over the church. I couldn’t stand it. But at my current church I honestly look forward to going.
Last year I volunteered to lead one session and came up with a plan to involve the kids too. The girls and I took turns reading about each station and leading the prayers. J got to carry the altar server cross from station to station to mark the spot for everyone. It worked out really nicely and get this… the kids liked it!
So this year I signed up again. The girls were practicing last night. J was reminding the girls about his role in the event. And as I watched them it hit me – they have a completely different relationship with this special Lenten prayer.
My Friday night plans may not seem particularly exciting but I’m really looking forward to them.