I am a member of Palmer’s Funeral Guild and serve as a lector for Sunday worship. Before we began socially distancing last year when COVID hit our city, you may have seen me serve as an usher at our Rite I service at 11:00. And for some years now I have been leading my fellow Palmers in walking the Stations of the Cross every Friday during Lent.
Because I was brought up in the Methodist Church, I came rather late to this devotion. But about twenty years ago I decided—almost as much out of curiosity as piety—to include the Stations as part of my observance of Lent. Accordingly, for the six Fridays after Ash Wednesday, I dutifully performed the Stations of the Cross at the Episcopal Church that I was attending at the time.
I was appropriately reverent during these exercises, but not particularly devout. I was thus totally unprepared for what happened to me when I showed up for church that Easter Sunday. Hardly had the opening hymn begun, when I found myself seized by a powerful emotion. Next moment, I was astonished to find myself weeping for joy.
Ever since then, the Stations of the Cross has been very meaningful to me. Once, I was privileged to perform the Stations while following the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem with a group of fellow pilgrims from Palmer.
There is no denying that meditating on the passion of our Savior makes us uncomfortable. Yet it is also a source of comfort. Crucifixion was the most degrading and excruciatingly painful death that the Romans, with their genius for cruelty, were able to devise. Yet that very fact means that we can be brought to no suffering, no heartbreak and no shame where Christ has not preceded us. And so, in our own most desperate and agonized moments, we can cry to Him, "You know. You understand. Help me!" And hear him reply, "Take heart! I have overcome the world.”
This year, because of the pandemic, Palmer is doing the Stations digitally. You can join us on Fridays on Facebook, or any time on Youtube. Come with us on this symbolic walk with Christ. It will enrich your Lent and make your Easter all the more joyful.