Fourteenth Station – Jesus Laid within the Sepulchre

Jesus Laid within the SepulchreWe adore you O Christ and we bless you
Because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; Pilate ordered it to be given to him. So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth 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. Matthew 27: 57-60

As the sun goes down, Christ is buried in a borrowed tomb. After the pain and agony He looks at rest. He lies here now like a seed buried in the earth and we, with all creation, wait. This is the day of deep, deep silence. We wait and we watch. Yet in the darkness of the tomb and in the shadow of death God continues His work. This is a divine silence from which the Word will be spoken again and make all things new.

There are times in all our lives when we too are in a cold and dark place. Times when we need to invite Jesus into our darkness, into our fear and pain, into our lives sealed against feeling, into our many little deaths. We enter the tomb with Jesus and wait and enter into that holy silence. We wait with for all things to be made new, for our hearts and lives and all creation to be set free from our bondage to sin. We wait for the glory that beckons us and bids us live in the glorious freedom of the children of God.

Almighty God, whose most dear Son lay at this hour in the sepulchre in obedience to your will; may we by your grace be so buried with him that with him we may rise to life everlasting; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Rt Revd Mark Davies, Bishop of Middleton.

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Thirteenth Station – Jesus Taken Down from the Cross

Jesus Taken Down from the CrossWe adore you O Christ and we bless you
Because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world

When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him. Matthew 27:54-55

Jesus is dead. He is lowered from the cross and his limp lifeless body is placed into the arms of his mother.

The peasant woman of Nazareth, who had held him to her breast as a baby, now receives her son’s body back to her and holds him in deep sorrow. Her motherly love once more receives him and protect him. Her embrace enshrouds her child. And there, in that loving embrace, etched in the imagination and history of humanity, is a sorrowful and profound time of new and mysterious maternal fruitfulness.

Loving Mary, our Mother, teach us to show true compassion, an active compassion, which embraces the suffering and those who have died, and which raises suppliant eyes towards heaven.

Revd Canon Ian Gomersall, Rector of St Chrysostom’s.

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Twelfth Station – Jesus by Death Redeems the World

Jesus by Death Redeems the WorldWe adore you O Christ and we bless you
Because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world

When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said “It is finished”; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:30

People do not choose to be born, nor do they usually choose to die.

God did choose to be born, when Jesus came into our world. God did choose to suffer death when Jesus was crucified. That is the stupendous truth of Christianity – that God loved the world so much that he humbled and limited himself to this extent.

God exists from all eternity, yet is born in time. He is immortal, yet chooses mortality. As Charles Wesley wrote in his hymn: “’Tis mystery all; the Immortal dies!” In doing this, God’s nature is revealed; the Divine is loving, humble and self-sacrificing. When we look at Jesus, we see what God is like, and he calls us to be like him. God gave himself away by Jesus’ birth and death. When we are tempted to defend Christianity from its attackers, we should remember that God has been abused to the utmost on the cross and was not defeated. In his dying and death, Jesus is our inspiration, whatever life is throwing at us.

Father, may we know more and more the love you show us in the birth, life and death of Jesus. Reveal through us the redeemer’s love for the world. Amen.

Revd Canon Alma Servant, Rector of the Ascension, Hulme.

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Eleventh Station – Jesus Nailed to the Cross for us


Jesus Nailed to the Cross for us

We adore you O Christ and we bless you
Because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world

When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Luke 23:33

Jesus is not alone in being nailed to the cross; there are two others, criminals on either side. As the nails are driven in there is no going back. All three will meet the same fate; the fate of a criminal condemned to an excruciating death. Yet it is not only these two criminals who were nailed to the cross besides Jesus; we too are condemned to death in this world, our bodily death, daily deaths by sin, and our striving for death to our own wills that we may be joined to Christ in his death. If we share in Christ’s death we also come to share in his glorious resurrection; as he promised to the Penitent Thief, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”

“You are to become this body, you are to be nailed: nailed to Christ’s sacrificial will. The nails that hold you are God’s commandments, your rules of life, prayers, confessions, communions regularly observed. Let us honour the nails for Christ’s sake, and pray that by the virtue of his passion they may hold fast.” (Austin Farrer)
What nails hold you fast to the crucified Christ?

May the crucified Christ help us to hold fast to him in his suffering.
May we die to sin and turn like the Penitent Thief, that He may remember us in his kingdom and receive us into the Father’s paradise.
Amen.

Revd Penny King, former Parish Assistant at St Chrysostom’s, Assistant Curate at St Elisabeth’s Reddish.

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Tenth Station – Jesus Stripped of His Garments

Jesus Stripped of His GarmentsWe adore you O Christ and we bless you
Because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world

The huntsmen are all about me; a band of ruffians rings me round, and they have hacked off, my hands and feet. I tell my tale of misery, while they look on and gloat. They share out my garments among them and cast lots for my cloths. Psalm 22:16-18

It seems that every step to Calvary brought fresh humiliation to our Lord. No doubt Jesus’ sensitive nature recoiled at being stripped before a crowd of people. Christ leaves this life as he entered into it – completely detached from all the comforts of this world.

Christ wishes us to know that without a doubt he loved us with an unselfish love. His love for us caused him nothing but pain and sorrow. He gave everything and received nothing in return. Why do we find it so hard to be detached? In his loving mind, did our Lord look up to the Father as he stood there on that hill, shivering from cold and shame and trembling from fear, and ask Him to have mercy on those who would make love a mockery? Did He ask forgiveness for those whose greed would make them lie, cheat and steal for a few pieces of gold or silver?

Ask yourself: Do I love unselfishly or give my love freely as Jesus has done for me?

Revd Ray Clifford, retired priest living in London who worships at St Chrysostom’s when in Manchester.

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Ninth Station – Jesus Falls for the Third Time

Jesus Falls for the Third TimeWe adore you O Christ and we bless you
Because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Isaiah 53:3

We have struggled in our lives, or our Christian journey. We have know times when we have promised ourselves, God, and others that we would do better and then have failed yet again despite our best attempts. Jesus falls and stumbles, and as he does so we know that he is with us when we fail to live up to our and other’s expectations. Jesus shares our feeling of worthlessness.

Despite the weight of the cross, despite the hatred of the crowd, Jesus perseveres on his dreadful journey. Each of us have our burdens to carry, our own cross to bear. It is all too easy to put it down, to escape from it, to walk away. Our feelings of worthlessness are our acceptance of our vulnerability, and our need for God. Though we fall and fall, though we fail and fail, we get up and carry on through the strength that comes from God.

Dear Lord Jesus,
May we stand before you in our brokenness,
our weakness and our fragile humanity.
May we make Love the motive for every decision we choose in our lives.
Amen.

Revd Christopher Hartley, Assistant Curate, St Chrysostom’s.

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Eighth Station – Jesus Speaks to the Weeping Women

Jesus Speaks to the Weeping WomenWe adore you O Christ and we bless you
Because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world

Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me but weep for your selves and for your children. Because days are coming when they will say “Happy are those who are barren, and whose wombs never bore a child………Then they will say to the mountains “Fall upon us” and to the hills “cover us “ For if they do these things when the sap is in the wood, what will they do when the wood is dry ?” Luke 23:28-31

“Daughters of Jerusalem” – what courtesy from a man in extreme pain, walking or more likely stumbling to the place of execution. Still Jesus could address them with respect-and with compassion as he spelt out that grim and dark prophecy. Jesus goes to the cross as the victim of Pilate’s fear of losing power and the Jewish authorities’ fear that they would lose their small area of independence. His ministry and his way of life had been a powerful proclamation of the Kingdom of God, an example of another way to live, in peace, in mutual caring and with love not violence. The authorities would not or could not hear.

Jesus, give me your gift of compassion, and enable me to show in my life the real power of your gospel of peace, and of the Kingdom of God. Amen.

Sister Jean Mary, of the Community of the Holy Name.

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