Good Friday 2021
Stations of the Cross Liturgy
Adapted from Liturgy by Rev. T. Denise Anderson | A Sanctified Art LLC | sanctifiedart.org
Materials Needed: Paper and writing utensil
*Italicized script includes instructions. The other parts may be read aloud or to yourself.
Watch this video as you settle in and prepare yourself for this time.
“Now at the Hour of our Death,” used with permission from Work of the People
We have tasted the goodness of the word of God.
And yet, we often fall away from it, crucifying Jesus anew.
Again and again, we tell the story.
And again and again, we find ourselves here – in the story.
For as often as necessary, let us relive it so that, with God’s help, we will no longer repeat it.
Holy God, as we journey through this familiar story, help us to understand it anew. Show us, O God, where and why we find ourselves here again and again, move us toward a more just future. Amen.
“Go to Dark Gethsemane”
STATION 1: JESUS IN THE GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE
Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’ He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated. Then he said to them, ‘I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.’ And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.’ Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, ‘So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’
On a piece of paper write the name of someone who is having an exceptionally difficult time. As you listen to this next song (“Stay with Me,” performed by Melodie Rayburn), write a prayer for this person.
Stay With Me
STATION 2: JESUS IS BETRAYED BY JUDAS AND ARRESTED
Immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; and with him there was a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, ‘The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.’ So when he came, he went up to him at once and said, ‘Rabbi!’ and kissed him. Then they laid hands on him and arrested him.
Again and again, we betray one another and God. We confess our part in the fragmentation of the human family, and we lament our brokenness.
Take the sheet of paper with the prayer you wrote from station one and tear it into pieces, but do not discard the shreds.
STATION 3: JESUS IS DENIED BY PETER
Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant-girl came to him and said, ‘You also were with Jesus the Galilean.’ But he denied it before all of them, saying, ‘I do not know what you are talking about.’ When he went out to the porch, another servant-girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, ‘This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.’ Again he denied it with an oath, ‘I do not know the man.’ After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, ‘Certainly you are also one of them, for your accent betrays you.’ Then he began to curse, and he swore an oath, ‘I do not know the man!’ At that moment the cock crowed. Then Peter remembered what Jesus had said: ‘Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly.
The good that we would do, we do not do. Even when we are not willfully malicious, we fail the human family through our fear and timidity. We neglect to stand up for what’s right or come to another’s aid when they cry out. Sometimes, we just don’t want to be bothered with the world’s ills. We lament that others suffer when we seek self-preservation.
Take your shreds of paper and tear them up into even smaller pieces.
STATION 4: JESUS IS JUDGED BY PONTIUS PILATE
Mark 15:1-5, 15
As soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ He answered him, ‘You say so.’ Then the chief priests accused him of many things. Pilate asked him again, ‘Have you no answer? See how many charges they bring against you.’ But Jesus made no further reply, so that Pilate was amazed. So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.
This station lifts up the work of The Innocence Project, a non-profit working to exonerate the wrongly convicted through DNA testing, and reform the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice. https://innocenceproject.org/
Kennedy Brewer was sentenced to death by the State of Mississippi for a murder he did not commit. Though DNA evidence overturned his conviction, prosecutors intended to retry him and he remained incarcerated for five more years before his release.
Habib Wahir Abdal served 16 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. He was exonerated after DNA evidence ruled him out as a suspect. Six years later, he passed away.
In 1983, George Allen, Jr., was wrongly convicted of capital murder, rape, sodomy, and first-degree burglary. He served 30 years of a 95-year-sentence before being exonerated. He died three years later.
Again and again, our lips and laws bear false witness against our neighbors. Holy One, save us from this appetite for injustice, and turn our hearts toward truth.
STATION 5: JESUS IS SCOURGED AT THE PILLAR & CROWNED WITH THORNS
Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe. They kept coming up to him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ and striking him on the face.
Play the next song (“With Broken Heart and Contrite Sigh”) as you attempt to reassemble the paper you tore in the first few stations. When you are finished, notice the “scarring” of the paper where it was torn. What feelings are evoked when you see the fragmenting and violence done to something you created with such love and care?
STATION 6: JESUS IS CRUCIFIED
So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.’ Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, ‘Do not write, “The King of the Jews”, but, “This man said, I am King of the Jews.” ’ Pilate answered, ‘What I have written I have written.’
Take a couple minutes and on a clean sheet of paper write down who Jesus is to you. What distinction or declaration would you give him on the cross?
STATION 7: JESUS PROMISES HIS KINGDOM TO A THIEF
One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, ‘Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’ But the other rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ He replied, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’
This station draws from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, which chillingly keeps records of the last words of executed offenders. It should be noted that many who offered last statements maintain their innocence or suggest they were sentenced unjustly. These offered below appear to acknowledge their transgression and display a sense of remorse. https://www.tdcj.texas.gov/death_row/dr_executed_offenders.html
The last words of Justen Hall, executed by the state of Texas on November 6, 2019: “Yeah, I want to address the Roundtree family and apologize for the pain and suffering I caused. And to the Diaz’s family that I had to put you through this, it should have never happened. And to my mom and Morelia, I love you and I’m going to miss you all. I’m ready.”
The last words of Arturo Diaz, executed by the state of Texas on September 26, 2013: “I hope that this serves as an example for the youngsters. Think about it before you make a bad decision. Let’s go, Warden. I’m ready.”
The last words of George Whitaker III, executed by the State of Texas on November 12, 2008: “First off I’d like to say to Mr. and Mrs. Carrier, I apologize for your pain and suffering. I pray Lord, please forgive me…”
Music for Reflection: “Jesus, Remember Me,” Taize
STATION 8: JESUS SPEAKS TO HIS MOTHER & THE BELOVED DISCIPLE
Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.
Watch this video and learn about the creation of Pieta: “Woman, Behold Your Son; Behold Your Mother” by artist and minister Rev. T.D. Anderson (the author of this liturgy), which is a visual art and sermon project on Emmett Till’s murder, with a particular focus on his mother.
Take a moment to consider who you must receive as your own family. Who suffers in silence? Whose pain is ignored or marginalized.