Explore the content below and find out more about the Walking the Way of the Cross book and Kindle e-book, published by Church House Publishing, which features further reflections on all fifteen Stations by Archbishop Stephen Cottrell, Canon Dr Paula Gooder and Bishop Philip North.
You can also explore the Common Worship service of ‘The Way of the Cross’ in our Prayer and Worship section.
The Stations of the Cross have formed part of Christian devotion at Passiontide for many centuries because they enable us to engage actively with the path of suffering walked by Jesus. They originated when early Christians visited Jerusalem and wanted to follow literally in the footsteps of Jesus, tracing the path from Pilate’s house to Calvary. They would pause for prayer and devotion at various points. Eventually, those pilgrims brought the practice back to their home countries and ever since then Christians of differing traditions have used this form of devotion.
In the earliest days of Christian pilgrimage, visitors to Jerusalem would walk the path from Pilate’s house to Calvary. In the late fourteenth century, the Franciscan protectors of the holy places in Jerusalem put up images at which people would pause, reflect and pray. Eventually, those pilgrims brought the practice of walking a path of images from Christ’s passion back to their home countries, and many churches have images of the traditional Stations of the Cross on their walls. If you can, do also try to look at the powerful images of the biblical stations by Nicholas Markell. These are featured in the book Walking the Way of the Cross and the posters that go with it, and they can also be found online.
These podcasts – and the book on which they are based – offer you a way of walking the via dolorosa (or ‘Way of Sorrows’) as you recall key moments from the passion and death of Jesus. For each of the fifteen biblical Stations of the Cross, there is a short reading, a space for reflection or meditation, and a prayer. There are also reflections for each Station by Philip North, Paula Gooder and Stephen Cottrell. Each have taken a particular approach.
- Philip’s reflections seek to draw out the significance of the events in the story of Jesus’s saving love for the world.
- Paula’s reflections aim to help us enter and become more deeply rooted in the biblical narrative.
- Finally, Stephen’s reflections enter into the story on a very personal level, encouraging each of us to imagine ourselves as a minor, bit-part player or a follower of Jesus – watching and reflecting on the tumultuous events that are unfolding.
Ultimately the call of Calvary is to participate and to share in whatever way we can. In this participation, you too have the chance to have a relationship with Jesus where you are seen as a precious individual, known and so loved that Christ continues to walk towards death that you might live. Throughout the stations, you will see all sorts of different people who encounter Christ on his journey to the cross – unbelievers, robbers, helpers, friends and enemies. They are all changed forever by what they see.
Will you encounter him, too, and be changed forever?
Jesus in agony in the Garden of Gethsemane
Jesus betrayed by Judas and arrested
Jesus condemned by the Sanhedrin
Peter denies Jesus
Jesus judged by Pilate
Jesus scourged and crowned with thorns
Jesus carries his cross
Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry the cross
Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
Jesus is crucified
Jesus promises the kingdom to the penitent thief
Jesus on the cross; his mother and his friend
Jesus dies on the cross
Jesus laid in the tomb
Jesus is risen from the dead
Images of the Stations of the Cross are copyright (c) 2013 Nicholas Markell | Eyekons. Reproduced with permission.