Here is what we did for our Tennebrae/Good Friday service at our church this year. We used different rooms in the church to create the stations of the cross. Included below are all the readings, audio files, media as well as some rough walk through videos of the rooms, props, and interactive elements we used. Hope this might be helpful if you are looking for creative ideas of how to use stations of the cross in a worship context or if you are looking for ways to include interactive prayer elements in your service or church.
For this event we had paper readings at each station. However we also put together a mobile friendly website with each stations content and even videos embedded on each page.
This allowed people to follow along the readings, media, and audio on their tablet or smartphone while walking through each station. Check it out here. www.levelgroundchurch.com/journeytothecross
In case you are interested we used a standard WordPress install and purchased a responsive mobile friendly theme that would accommodate our needs. We setup each station as it’s own post.
Photos by the always fantastic Lightstock Photo
Credits & Inspirations
Cheryl Laurie – http://holdthisspace.org.au
Dave Rodda – Ross Road Community Church
A New Liturgy – http://anewliturgy.com
Journey To The Cross
Welcome to our guided prayer walk through the Journey to the Cross. We hope this evening will give you space to reflect on the events of Jesus’ crucifixion and in unique and meaningful way.
Just a couple notes before you being.
Please remain silent for the duration of the walk
Take your time – there is no need to rush through the program – if someone behind you is going faster than you are – simply allow them to pass through the station ahead of you.
Some stations are interactive – if you feel uncomfortable participating in the the activity – please feel free to simply watch or reflect and then move on to the next station.
Staff are wearing glowing bracelets so that you can easily identify them and ask any questions you may have.
#1 – In The Beginning
In the beginning…
“It is Good!”
“…all the beauty of the world, the beauty that calls our admiration, our gratitude, our worthship at the earthly level, is meant as a set of hints, of conspiratorial whispers, of clues and suggestions and flickers of light, all nudging us into believing that behind the beautiful world is not random chance but the loving God.” (N.T. Wright, For All God’s Worth)
“If we are created in the image and likeness of God, then whatever good, true, or beautiful things we can say about humanity or creation we can say of God exponentially. God is the beauty of creation and humanity multiplied to the infinite power.” (Fr Richard Rohr)
Imagine the infant world in all it’s perfection.
Imagine what it was like when every single relationship,
(People with God – People with People- and People with Earth) was utterly perfect.
Take a moment to think of the good things God has created in this world. Write down a few of them on a post it note and stick it to the globe.
#2 – The Fall
“The Fall, the Fall, O God the fall of Man, the fruit is found in every eye and every hand…” (Gungor)
Romans 6:23 – For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
“Everything is broken now…”
– How do you see brokenness in the world, in your life situations, and in your own heart.
Pick up a stone and carry it with you for the duration of the night as a representation of your sin.
#3 – The Garden
Play audio of night sounds
If you are able to, you are invited to kneel down on one of the cushions as you read this passage.
Read or Watch:
Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. (Luke 22:39-46)
Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” (Matthew 26:45-46)
Jesus knew all the pain and suffering he was about to experience. Can you sense his anguish? Do you feel his struggle? Yet he still says “not my will, but yours be done”.
Jesus’ sacrifice wasn’t a spur of the moment decision. He deliberately chose to take the journey to the cross – in spite of the great cost.
Is there an area of your life where you need to make a choice to love and sacrifice – even if it comes with a cost?
#4 – Betrayed by Judas
The one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.(Matthew 26:14-16)
While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.” Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. (Matthew 26:47-50)
Begin by picking up the bag of coins and dumping its contents out on the table in front of you. Next, pick up the coins one by one, counting them as you put them back in the bag.
How much is your integrity worth?
Would you betray a friend for twenty thousand dollars?
Why do we seem to compromise our values so quickly for money?
#5 – Condemned by Pilate
Sit on the chairs in middle of the room and listen to the crowd shouting as you read the story on the screen in front of you. If you have headphones on – remove them to listen to the crowd shouting.
Here we setup the mp3 on repeat and had people sit on a chair in front of the speakers. The scripture for the station was projected on the wall – so as they read the passage, the listened to the crowd shouting.
After you have finished reading, proceed to the next part of this station on your left.
Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” “You have said so,” Jesus replied. When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor. Now it was the governor’s custom at the festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. At that time they had a well-known prisoner whose name was Jesus Barabbas. So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” For he knew it was out of self-interest that they had handed Jesus over to him. While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.” But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed. “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor. “Barabbas,” they answered. “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked.
They all answered, “Crucify him!”
“Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.
But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”
When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”
All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!”
Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified. (Matthew 27:11-26)
What was it like listening to the crowd? Were you annoyed? Can you sympathize with Pilate wanting to just give in?
In what ways do we give in and take the easy and lazy road even if it means being part of injustice?
As you leave – stop at the door and ‘wash your hands’ in the basin. Think of the areas in your life where you act like Pilate – and participate in injustice because it’s easier than fighting for what is right.
#6 – Denied By Peter
Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said. But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said. Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.” He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!” After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.” Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly. (Matthew 26:69-75)
Sometimes our betrayal is not motivated by financial gain but rather social acceptance…
The greatest single cause of atheism in the world is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, and walk out the door and deny him with their lifestyles… that is what an unbelieving world finds unbelievable. (Brennan Manning)
Think of times you have denied Jesus with your words, actions, or non-action.
Write down the phrase “I Do Not Know Him” on the chalkboard as a symbol of the times you, like Peter, have denied Christ.
#7 – Whipped & Mocked
But he (Pilate) had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified. (Matthew 27:26)
Play the mp3 and listen to the sound of the whip
Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. (Matthew 27:27-31a)
Take the red felt marker and strike the loose part of the clothing hanging from the cross to make a red mark.
Some deaths are quick.
Some deaths are noble.
This death was neither.
It’s one thing to kill a man
It’s another to shame and humiliate him.
Think for a second…
That the King of heaven has spit on his face.
O the divine disgrace of our Saviour.
#8 – Nailed To The Cross
Grab a hammer and drive in one nail.
“When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:33-34)
Jesus’ talked a lot about loving enemies and forgiving others.
But here at the cross he goes beyond words and ideals and teaches us with an example
With the nail digging into his flesh and the hammer hovering…
He offers forgiveness
So in your life, who are the soldiers with nails and hammers that you could extend forgiveness to?
#10 – It Is Finished
It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. (Luke 23:44-49)
Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:28-30)
Spend some time imagining you are standing in front of the cross with the disciples…
Can you feel the presence of death?
Can you feel the heaviness of despair?
Can you feel the sorrow, emptiness, and confusion?
Can you feel the darkness…
Extinguish one candle as a symbol of Jesus dying.
You can also play the video “When I Survey… (Minor Key Version)” as part of your Stations of the Cross.
You can also play the video “Were You There – Good Friday Version” as part of your Stations of the Cross.
#11 – Buried In A Tomb
Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night.
Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds.Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. (John 19:38-41)
Try to imagine the emotion of the disciples as Jesus’ body was laid in a tomb.
What’s it like to go to the funeral of the one you thought would save – the one you thought would be the Messiah?
——————– Poem by Cheryl Laurie —————-
John 16:7. “But I tell you that I am going to do what is best for you. That is why I am going away. The Holy Spirit cannot come to help you until I leave. But after I am gone I will send the Spirit to you.”
You think this is what’s best for us?
They humiliated you on a cross.
And we’re humiliated too, because we put our trust in you.
No wonder Peter denied you.
Maybe it wasn’t out of fear, but out of sheer, bloody rage
that this is how the dream ended.
How can you think this is what’s best for us?
We put everything we had into you.
Our belief that you were the one who could save us.
You offered us a taste of welcome,
a hint of grace,
a touch of freedom.
For a moment we glimpsed a new world,
and you promised an eternity of that.
And we trusted you.
We’re left wondering which is worse
– that it ended like this
or that you knew it would end like this
and you took us with you anyway.
The death of Jesus shattered every belief his followers had about who God should be.
Think of the beliefs you have about God that the cross forces you to confront…
#11 – Letting Go
Let the rock in your hand symbolize every sinful attitude and action
Let the rock in your hand symbolize all that you wish you weren’t
Let the rock in your hand symbolize the shadow within
Let the rock in your hand symbolize the brokenness you have experienced
Let the rock in your hand symbolize the brokenness you have caused
Go to the buckets of water and drop the rock in the water and let your sin die with Christ.
If we’ve left the country where sin is sovereign, how can we still live in our old house there? Or didn’t you realize we packed up and left there for good? That is what happened in baptism. When we went under the water, we left the old country of sin behind; when we came up out of the water, we entered into the new country of grace—a new life in a new land!
6-11 Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer at sin’s every beck and call! What we believe is this: If we get included in Christ’s sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did.
12-14 That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day. Don’t even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time—remember, you’ve been raised from the dead!—into God’s way of doing things. Sin can’t tell you how to live. After all, you’re not living under that old tyranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of God.
#12 – Communion
Stand here at the table of the Last Supper…
Here is where it all started with bread and cup and a promise.
This bread and this cup is about that body and that blood.
This bread and this cup…
is about a new covenant between God and you
is about righteousness given not earned
is about God fixing the sin problem once and for all
This bread and this cup…
is about how He ‘So Loved The World’
is about his faithful forgiveness
is about his reckless grace
This bread and this cup…
is about no more condemnation
is about remembering – your sins are forgiven
This bread and this cup…
is about how everything is now moving towards how it’s supposed to be
And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.
Optional Video – “Last Supper”
Take the bread and eat, take the cup and drink.
Then fill in your name on the sticky note and place it on the wall beside the cross. “My name is ________________ and my sins are forgiven.”