Our finite minds will never be able to fully grasp the significance, or magnitude of what Jesus endured and accomplished through His obedient life, death, resurrection, and ascension. No matter how many times we read the account of Jesus’ last days or how many Easter sermons we hear, our human brains are not capable of comprehending the scope of so much love and grace. But that shouldn’t keep us from pausing to contemplate it as we try to understand and appreciate it more. The one thing we do not want to do is to be so familiar with the story that we start to be complacent about it or take it for granted.
Sometimes when something is so familiar, it helps to try to experience it in different ways. By that I mean instead of just reading or hearing the story of Easter, we can try to use all of our senses and “enter into” the story. For several years our church has practiced the spiritual discipline of an interactive experience called “Journey to the Cross” by Faith Bosland. On Good Friday and Holy Saturday, we invite members and friends of the congregation to actively use all their senses to follow Jesus as He journeys to the cross and His resurrection. There are twelve “stations” that portray a significant part of the story. Each station included a Bible verse, a reflective reading, instructions on how to actively participate, and a prayer prompt. Some stations also give participants an opportunity to write a prayer or response to God.
When people enter, they are greeted by several members of the Spiritual Formation Committee who host the event. They provide a brief explanation of how the journey will proceed and answer any questions. People are encouraged to go as individuals or as a family and to take whatever time they need. Chairs are provided in the hallways if there is more than one person or group of people waiting to experience that part of the journey. The different locations include: quieting outer noise, necessity of the cross, Mary anoints Jesus, Judas betrays Jesus, last supper, Gethsemane, Jesus’ arrest, Jesus’ trial, Jesus’ crucifixion, Jesus’ death, Jesus’ burial, and Jesus’ resurrection. Each one of these locations is set up throughout the church and arrows on the floor direct people which way to go next. Each room is marked with the experience that they will reflect on. When people are done they are given an opportunity to write a response to God for what they experienced.
No matter how many times I go through this journey, my understanding and appreciation of what Jesus did grows as my faith and love for Him deepen and I am filled with renewed passion to live faithfully and boldly for Him. If you feel this is something your church would like to do, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to email you all the information you need including: description of each station, Bible verses, reflective readings, prayer prompts, list of suggested props needed, and any other explanations you need to have a successful journey to the cross.
May God use this prayer experience to help individuals, families, and friends of your congregation worship and celebrate the risen Lord. “He is risen! He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!!