08 April 2023

Praying at the Stations of the Cross in
Lent 2023: 8 April 2023 (Station 14)

‘Jesus is Laid in the Tomb’ … Station XIV in the Stations of the Cross in Saint Dunstan and All Saints’ Church, Stepney (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

Patrick Comerford

We come to the end of Holy Week and the end of Lent today, which is Holy Saturday. Easter Day is tomorrow (8 April 2023).

But, even before today begins, I am taking some time early this morning for prayer, reflection and reading. In these two weeks of Passiontide this year, Passion Week and Holy Week, I have been reflecting in these ways:

1, Short reflections on the Stations of the Cross, illustrated by images in Saint Dunstan’s and All Saints’ Church, the Church of England parish church in Stepney, in the East End of London, and the Roman Catholic Church of Saint Francis de Sales in Wolverton;

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

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.

Station 14, Jesus is laid in the tomb:

The Fourteenth Station in the Stations of the Cross has a traditional description such as ‘Jesus is laid in the tomb.’

In Station XIV in Stephney, five people prepare to place Christ in his hurriedly-prepared tomb. They are the Virgin Mary, the two other Marys, Saint John the Evangelist and either Nicodemus or Joseph of Arimathea. The Virgin Mary clasps her hands in prayer, while Saint Mary Magdalene is on her knees, kissing the hands of Christ.

The words beneath state: ‘Jesus is Laid in the Tomb.’

In Station XIV in Wolverton, three men are involved in the burial of Christ: Saint John the Evangelist, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, who came to see Christ under the cover of darkness, now prepares to bury his body before darkness falls.

The words below read: ‘Placed in the Tomb.’

Nicodemus who had questions and doubts, now holds the Body of Christ in his hands.

Nicodemus has become a full communicant member of the Church.

In death he knows what is meant by new birth.

‘The Body of Christ given for you.’


But this is not the end.

‘Placed in the Tomb’ … Station XIV in the Stations of the Cross in Saint Francis de Sales Church, Wolverton (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

Matthew 27: 57-66 (NRSVA):

57 When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. 58 He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. 59 So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.

62 The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate 63 and said, ‘Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, “After three days I will rise again.” 64 Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, “He has been raised from the dead”, and the last deception would be worse than the first.’ 65 Pilate said to them, ‘You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.’ 66 So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.

Today’s Prayer:

The theme in this week’s prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) has been ‘Good Neighbours in Times of War: a View from Europe.’ This theme was introduced on Sunday by the Ven Dr Leslie Nathaniel, Archdeacon of the East, Germany and Northern Europe, with an adaptation of his contribution to USPG’s Lent Course ‘Who is our neighbour,’ which I have edited for USPG.

The USPG Prayer Diary today (Saturday 8 April 2023, Easter Eve) invites us to pray:

Let us pray for all in desolation and despair. May the seeds of resurrection grow in their grieving hearts until love is come again.

The Collect:

Grant, Lord,
that we who are baptized into the death
of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ
may continually put to death our evil desires
and be buried with him;
and that through the grave and gate of death
we may pass to our joyful resurrection;
through his merits,
who died and was buried and rose again for us,
your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

Good Friday 2023 … images from a variety of locations (Photographs: Patrick Comerford)

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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