Tuesday, 5 April 2022

Praying at the Stations of the Cross in
Lent 2022: 5 April 2022 (Station 3)

Jesus falls for the first time … Station 3 in the Stations of the Cross in the Church of the Annunciation, Clonard, Wexford (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Patrick Comerford

Since Sunday, the Fifth Sunday in Lent (3 April 2022), we have been in what is often known as Passion Week.

Before today day begins, I am taking some time early this morning (5 April 2022) for prayer, reflection and reading.

During Lent this year, in this Prayer Diary on my blog each morning, I have been reflecting on the Psalms each morning. But during these two weeks of Passiontide, Passion Week and Holy Week, I am reflecting in these ways:

1, Short reflections on the Stations of the Cross, illustrated by images in the Church of the Annunciation, Clonard, Wexford, and the Church of Saint Mary and Saint Giles in Stony Stratford, Milton Keynes;

2, the Gospel reading of the day in the lectionary adapted in the Church of Ireland;

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.

Station 3, Jesus falls for the first time:

In an unusual arrangement, the Stations of the Cross in the church in Clonard are set in the curved outer wall of the church in 14 windows designed by Gillian Deeny of Wicklow. In her windows, she emphasises the role of women in the Passion story.

Her windows were made in association with Abbey Glass, where she worked with the cut-out shapes of coloured glass, the pigment being a mixture of lead oxide, ground glass and colour. Each window is signed by the artist.

The Stations of the Cross on the north and south walls of the nave in Stoney Stratford were donated in memory of John Dunstan (1924-1988).

The Third Station in the Stations of the Cross has a traditional description such as ‘Jesus falls for the first time.’ Having received the Cross, Christ has turned around is on his journey to Calvary. Christ’s three falls depicted traditionally in the Stations of the Cross (Stations III, VII and IX) are not recorded in any of the Four Gospel accounts of the Passion.

As the piety around this traditional station developed, perhaps people recalled Christ’s words: ‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light’ (Matthew 11: 28-30).

Now his yoke is not easy and his burden is heavy. In the window in Clonard, he remains gentle and humble in heart as he falls beneath the weight of his Cross, two Roman soldiers watching beside him, two women shocked in the background. In Station 3 in Stony Stratford, he seems almost to have knelt in prayer, while a Roman soldier takes on the weight of the Cross.

Christ is going to fall twice again.

Jesus falls for the first time … Station 3 in the Stations of the Cross in the Church of Saint Mary and Saint Giles in Stony Stratford, Milton Keynes (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

John 8: 21-30 (NRSVA):

21 Again he said to them, ‘I am going away, and you will search for me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 22 Then the Jews said, ‘Is he going to kill himself? Is that what he means by saying, “Where I am going, you cannot come”?’ 23 He said to them, ‘You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am he.’ 25 They said to him, ‘Who are you?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Why do I speak to you at all? 26 I have much to say about you and much to condemn; but the one who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.’ 27 They did not understand that he was speaking to them about the Father. 28 So Jesus said, ‘When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own, but I speak these things as the Father instructed me. 29 And the one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him.’ 30 As he was saying these things, many believed in him.

Today’s Prayer:

The theme in this week’s prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) is ‘Meeting the Invisible.’ This theme was introduced on Sunday by the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana Do Brasil. The prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary today (Tuesday 5 April 2022), invites us to pray:

We pray for the ministry of the Rev’d Elineide Ferreira Oliveira in the Missionary District of Rondônia.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

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