Monday, 4 April 2022

Praying at the Stations of the Cross in
Lent 2022: 4 April 2022 (Station 2)

Jesus takes up his Cross … Station 2 in the Stations of the Cross in the Church of the Annunciation, Clonard, Wexford (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Patrick Comerford

Passiontide began yesterday, the Fifth Sunday in Lent (3 April 2022), and often in the past this week has been known as Passion Week.

Before today day begins, I am taking some time early this morning (4 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 2, Jesus takes up his Cross:

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 Second Station in the Stations of the Cross is an awkward moment as Christ receives the Cross. In the Second Station in Clonard, Christ holds the Cross gently with his left hand and his right arm. But he is going to have to turn around so that he can carry it on his shoulder and his back. Behind him are the women who are going to stay with him throughout his Passion and who are going to be with him at the foot of the Cross.

The Greek word μετάνοια (metanoia) is often translated as ‘conversion,’ or a transformative change of heart,’ especially: a spiritual conversion.’ But the Hebrew and Latin equivalents convey the sense of having to turn around. I first turned around and found myself on a new journey in faith when I walked into the chapel in Saint John’s Hospital, Lichfield, on a summer evening in 1971, when I was a 19-year-old.

In the Second Station in Stony Stratford, Christ retains his composure and his regal dignity as he takes his Cross and prepares to put in on his shoulder before facing towards his Passion. Having received the Cross, Christ is going to turn around for his journey to Calvary. In Lent, he invites us too to turn around too and to join him on this journey.

Jesus takes up his Cross … Station 2 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: 1-11 (NRSVA):

1 Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, 4 they said to him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. 5 Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’ 6 They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’ 8 And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus straightened up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ 11 She said, ‘No one, sir.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.’

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 yesterday by the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana Do Brasil. The prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary today (Monday 4 April 2022), invites us to pray:

Let us pray for the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil and its leading role as a beacon of inclusion and equality in Brazil.

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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