Summary: A modern Liturgy for an Evangelical Approach to the Stations of the Cross
Service of the Stations of the Cross
Leader: May the Grace of God be abundant in this place and recall the suffering of the anointed one, the Christ, the only begotten Son, Jesus. Holy Spirit, lead us closer to the Cross.
People: And also with you.
Scripture (Psalm 118:19-29)
Leader: Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the LORD.
People: This is the LORD's gate; the righteous shall enter through it.
Leader: I will give thanks because you have answered me. You have become my salvation.
People: The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
Leader: This has come from the LORD.
People: It is marvelous in our eyes.
Leader: This is the day on which the Lord has acted.
People: Let us shout with joy and rejoice in it.
Leader: Please, save us, O LORD! Please!
People: O LORD, please bring success!
Leader: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.
People: We bless you from the house of the LORD.
Leader: The LORD is God
People: He has given us light. With cords bind the festival sacrifice to the horns of the altar.
Leader: You are my God, and I will give thanks to you.
People: You are my God, I will extol you.
Leader: O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
People: For his steadfast love endures forever.
Congregational Song: When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
Leader: Let us begin our journey.
Station 1: Pilate Condemns Jesus to Die
Now Jesus stood before the governor; and the governor asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" Jesus said, "You say so." But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he did not answer. Then Pilate said to him, "Do you not hear how many accusations they make against you?" But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed. . . . So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, "I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves." . . . and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified. (Matt 27:11-14, 24, 26b)
Speaker: Jesus, we wish you would speak! We wish you would proclaim who you are. We wish you would confront the disbelief of the crowds and the arrogant cowardice of the powers that be. Surely someone will speak up for you! Where are the lepers who were healed? Where are the blind who can now see? Where are all the people who ate the bread and fish on the hillside? Where are those who followed you so easily when they thought you would become King of the Jews? Yet no one speaks. No voice in the crowd comes to your defense. You stand alone.
You stand before Pilate, the power of Rome. Weakness stands before strength. And yet, Pilate, the ruthless enforcer for the Empire is not really in control here. He cannot make you confess. He cannot quiet the crowds. For all his power, he cannot find the courage to do what is right. So he does what is safe. He yields to the crowds for the sake of order. Courage and strength do not always sit on thrones or judgment seats. Power is not always in the hands of Empires.
Leader: We have been alone. We have been falsely accused, and no one has spoken for us. we have been treated unfairly by those who could have used their power for better purposes. We can understand some of your feelings as you stand silently before Pilate and watch him proclaim his own innocence as he condemns an innocent man.
People: O Lord, forgive me for not always being who I should be.
Leader: We find it easy to condemn the moral cowardice of Pilate. Have we ever given in to pressure from others to take the easy path rather than the right path? Have we ever chosen the easy path over the right path?
People: Forgive us God.
Station 2: Jesus Accepts His Cross
Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor's headquarters, and they gathered the whole cohort around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head. They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him. (Matthew 27:27-31)