The Stations of the Cross are a Christian devotion which commemorates the Passion and death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. “Stations” comes from the Latin word that means to stand. “Of the Cross” refers to the events that surrounded Jesus’ crucifixion on a cross on Calvary. Each of the 14 stations represents an event which occurred during Jesus’ Passion and death at Calvary on Good Friday.
In centuries past, Christian pilgrims would travel to the Holy Land and walk the route from Pontius Pilate’s house to Calvary and to the tomb Jesus was buried in, stopping for devotionals to commemorate the events that took place along the way. These early pilgrims who saw, walked, remembered, prayed, and reflected on that actual path that Jesus walked got a lot out of the practice. When they went home, they recreated the practice where they lived, using paths and objects such as sculpture or paintings, depending on whether they were going to do the Stations of the Cross indoors or outdoors. This made the devotional practice available to people who could never travel to Jerusalem.
Where does one walk & pray the Stations of the Cross at St. Martin-in-the-Fields?
A person praying the Stations of the Cross will walk to each of 14 sequential stations and pray and meditate about each event Jesus went through from his condemnation to the tomb. St. Martin-in-the-Fields is blessed to have indoor and outdoor stations. Our indoor stations are 14 wooden plaques, numbered 1-14, mounted on the walls of the church sanctuary. When we pray the stations indoors, we most often have a procession with an acolytes carrying a cross and with a lay person reading the meditations and leading prayers.
Our outdoor stations are ground-level concrete markers planted in the fields directly south of the sanctuary and parking lot. These outdoor stations offer a unique worship experience because they are spread out and cover a significant distance, over 400 yards to walk from the parking lot to the first station, to the path of the 14 stations, and back. The large distance between them gives you ample time to reflect on all the events in Jesus’s path to the cross, and what he experienced carrying his cross through Jerusalem. The event on which to meditate is stamped into the concrete, so you don’t need anything additional to walk and pray the stations. The outdoor stations are open to the public and are used for St. Martin’s scheduled Stations of the Cross services when the weather is pleasant. The first station is near the fenceline at the southwest corner of the church fields, and the stations proceed from that corner to the east and then to the south at the edge of the upper fields.
Can the Stations be done anywhere? Are special prayers to be used?
Yes, the Stations of the Cross can be done anywhere, with a group of people, alone, and mentally. There are no specific prayers that are to be said. There are many different prayers written by various people throughout the centuries which are beautiful and profound. You can make your own personal prayer when you meditate about each station. In our scheduled worship times, we will have pamphlets available for you to use.