I’ve talked a bit about my faith in this space before and it’s Lent so I wanted to talk a bit more about what I’m doing in this time but this is my personal perspective, it’s not trying to make anyone feel bad or convert them. This is my space to talk about how I live and this is a part of how I live so I want to talk about it. I don’t want to offend you and if it’s not your thing and you don’t want to read it. Don’t. Come back another day when I’ll probably be talking about food, shopping or my very boring work week!
I knew at the beginning of the year that I needed to spend some time thinking about God and my relationship with God and with my faith community. One of the things I decided to do this Lent was to make some time for reflection and one of the ways I’m doing that is by going through the Stations of the Cross once a week.
When we started going to church, I was about 5 years old and before that my only experience of church was when my aunt took me. What I mostly remember about Church visit was the children’s missal I was given because even then, if there were books involved, I was usually happy. Other fun things were that they gave away money (I know, my aunt was mortified!) and that there were pictures on the columns of the church, the Stations of the Cross.
Later I learnt that this was a Catholic thing. Grandad’s Salvation Army Cory didn’t have Stations of the Cross (they’re methodists!) but it wasn’t until later I realised that CofE churches didn’t have them either.
Although they were always there, during Lent, there was always a big focus on the Stations. When I was a kid Ma would take us to the children’s Good Friday service which because there was no Mass, was the Stations, leading up to the big event of the Crucifixion. This was like the Easter version of the Nativity Play, children with tea towels on their heads walking around the church re-enacting each station but I didn’t go to Catholic school and Ma wasn’t really into that kind of Catholic prayer so that and giving something up was all we really did for Lent. (Ma for all she converted is quite Protestant in her thinking and we were brought up accordingly….)
Then as teenager, I was at a Catholic school and generally more involved in church life (altar server, youth club and preparation for Confirmation) I really began to notice the Lenten focus on the Stations. Every Friday during Lent, we were encouraged at school to do them. There were Stations of the Cross once a week at church, with a different person or group asked to lead the reflections and it influenced how I practiced in Lent.Which is why the first thing I ever did for Grace was a very simple walk around the Church with a reflection on each of the Stations of the Cross, although St Marys didn’t have the Stations on each column and I had to go and stick them up. When I was creating that reflection, I discovered the Scriptural Way of the Cross, which is a new version, sanctioned by John Paul II, to base them on scriptures. I’m not keen and prefer the traditional ones. This could be because I’m allergic to any reforms made by JPII but I’ve always thought that the Stations evolved to help us reflect on the deep truths of our lives and our faith and maybe it’s not scriptural to say that Jesus fell three times but I can see why His human failure to carry the Cross and fall three times for three days and the Trinity feels important. Also the new version has less focus on Mary in favour of the beloved disciple and I object to that on principle, the Church neglects Mary (and woman generally) quite enough as it is!
When I wrote the reflections, I wasn’t in a very happy place and there were particular Stations and reflections that I spent a lot of time with. This year I’ve found myself drawn to the end.
Jesus rises from the dead
Empty tomb. Jesus’ followers are really panicking now. What’s happened? Has someone stolen His body? Where is our Lord? He did speak about being raised from the dead, is this what He meant?
It’s not always how we think it’s going to be but God keeps His promises. We don’t know the details of the plan, we have to trust Him.
Now is the time to thank God for your life and for His love, which is always there for us no matter how far we move from Him.
It’s not always how we think it’s going to be. Story of my life and exactly were I am this year, not where I expected but glad to be here anyway..