The Fourth Station
Jesus meets his Mother
John 19: 25-27 - Standing close to Jesus’ cross were His mother, His mother’s sister, Mary, the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. Jesus saw His mother and the disciple He loved standing there; so He said to his mother “He is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “She is your mother.” From that time the disciple took her to live in his home.
John 16:22 - That is how it is with you: Now you are sad, but I will see you again, and your hearts will be filled with gladness, the kind of gladness that no one can take away from you.
Mary sees the procession moving through the streets. She hasn’t seen Him in days. Since his arrest, she’s been so worried. She hurries to push her way to the front of the crowd. To be close to her child. She is shocked to see how He looks. Now He’s there, in front of her. The cross is so heavy, He is trembling, sweating under the strain. His body bleeding from the beating. Mary tries to get closer. Her heart is bursting with sadness. He tries to get closer to her but the soldiers push him away. Jesus looks at the face of this beautiful, strong mother who gave herself to God to bring Him into this world and who protected Him in every way she could. For a second Mary and Jesus lock eyes. They both know that it had to come to this, and that even in all of this, God is with them. In the end, all He could do was try to provide for her well being in the life she will have to face without him. The procession moves on.
Lord Jesus, help me to see those around me who love me. Help me to understand that I need them just as much as they need me. Mary, help me to see Jesus in all things and in all people. Lord Jesus, when I feel alone, help me to remember to turn to my family and my friends for help. And most of all, help me to remember to turn to You for help and sustenance. This I ask, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
The Third Station
Jesus falls for the first time
Isaiah 53: 6 - All of us were like sheep that were lost, each of us going his own way. But the Lord made the punishment fall on Him, the punishment all of us deserved.
The procession moves out of the city gate. Jesus is unsteady on his feet. The soldiers are pushing Him. The crowd is noisy, an odd mix of crying and jeering, excitement and sorrow. Jesus is tired. He hasn’t slept or eaten in days. He has been beaten and is in pain. His heart is broken. He can hardly carry the cross. It’s heavy and awkward. He’s off balance. He falls. The soldiers yank him up. He steadies his feet. The procession is moving again.
Lord Jesus, when life gets really hard, I sometimes want to give up. Your cross was so heavy. Although it was hard for You, You never gave up. You fell, but You got up again and moved on. Help me to get up when I fall. Help me to keep moving. This I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.
The Second Station
Jesus is made to bear His Cross
Isaiah 53:4-5 - But He endured the suffering that should have been ours, the pain that we should have borne. All the while we thought that His suffering was punishment sent by God, but because of our sins He was wounded, beaten because of the evil we did. We are healed by the punishment He suffered, made whole by the blows He received.
Matthew 27:31 - When they had finished making fun of Him, they took the robe off and put His own clothes back on him. Then they led him out to crucify Him.
Luke 9:23 - And He said to them all, “If anyone wants to come with me, he must forget himself, take up his cross every day, and follow me.
It is the people, not Pilate, who want to crucify Jesus. Pilate has tried everything he could think of to change the crowd’s mind, but nothing works. He washes his hands in front of the crowd saying, “This is a righteous man.” He gives Jesus to the soldiers to be crucified.
Lord Jesus, you carried your cross. You knew it wouldn’t be easy, but you carried it just the same. You carried it for us. Help me to embrace the tribulations of my life. Help me to carry my cross, even when I don’t want to. Give me the courage You had. This I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen
The First Station
Jesus is condemned to death
John 19:1 to 16 - Then Pilate took Jesus and had Him whipped. The soldiers made a crown out of thorny branches and put it on His head; then they put a purple robe on Him and came to Him and said. “Long live the King of the Jews”. And they went up and slapped Him. Pilate went back out once more and said to the crowd. “Look, I will bring Him out here to you to let you see that I cannot find any reason to condemn Him”. So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, ‘Look! Here is the man”. When the chief priests and the Temple guards saw Him, they shouted. “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Pilate said to them. “You take Him, then, and crucify Him. I find no reason to condemn Him”. The crowd answered back. “We have a law that says He ought to die, because He claimed to be the Son of God.” When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid. He went back into the palace and asked Jesus, “Where do You come from?” But Jesus did not answer. Pilate said to him. “You will not speak to me? Remember, I have the authority to set you free and also to have you crucified”. Jesus answered. “You have authority over me only because it was given to you by God. So the man who handed me over to you is guilty of a worse sin.” When Pilate heard this, he tried to find a way to set Jesus free. But the crowd shouted back, “If you set him free, that means that you are not the Emperor’s friend! Anyone who claims to be a king is a rebel against the Emperor!”
Jesus stands before Pontius Pilate in a hostile place. He is alone. By speaking of justice, mercy, kindness and peace he has only done good things in life. He is sentenced to die. The procession is ready for the final walk. The gates are opened. The soldiers lead the way their armour clinking loudly. Jesus - undefended – follows
I love you my beloved Jesus. I love you more than myself. I am sorry if I ever offend you. Never let me separate myself from you again. Sometimes people don’t seem to understand me. Sometimes they are unfair. Sometimes I am also unfair, but you accept me even when I make mistakes. Help me to accept others when they make mistakes. Help me to forgive as Jesus did. Let me love you always. This I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Lent is a season of preparation leading up to Easter. It is the forty days plus the six Sundays before Easter. For centuries, it has been observed as a special time of self-examination and penitence. Lent is a time of spiritual cleansing, of prayer, and of growth in faith…a time of returning to the Lord our God, who is gracious and merciful and abounding in steadfast love.
If you have found yourself away from church and wondered about another try, Lent is the perfect time. For centuries, Lent has offered a chance to try the fellowship of the church one more time. In fact, Lent developed as a way to receive people back into church. If you are questioning your own faith and wondering what you believe, this could be the perfect time to come back to church.
Throughout Lent, the worship services of the church take on a simpler tone, appropriate to this season. Crosses showing the risen Christ are veiled. The word "Alleluia" is not used in the words of the liturgy or hymns. These practices help the worshipping community to mark this season of renewal as a special time in the church year.
The custom is to mark the season of Lent by giving up some things and taking on others. Both can serve to mark the season as a holy time of preparation. Some examples of things people give up for Lent include sweets, meat for all or some meals, and alcohol. In most cases, giving up something for Lent can be made more meaningful by using the money or time for another purpose. For example, meal times on fast days could be spent in prayer. Another example is that if you give up meat during Lent, the extra money that would go to meat dishes can be given to a group, such as World Vision, which works to end hunger worldwide, or Daily Bread which supports London families. Some things added during Lent might be daily Bible reading, extra times of prayer or taking a course of study related in some way to spirituality. Note that the season of Lent is forty days plus the six Sundays. This is because Sundays are celebrations of Jesus’ resurrection and are always an appropriate day to lessen the restrictions of Lent. So that if you have, for example, given up chocolate for Lent, you could indulge in a weekly candy bar on Sunday.
A Question and a Challenge for Lent
At the heart of becoming a disciple of Jesus lies the process of transformation, and at the heart of transformation we find the question, “Where is God in this?” In the midst of our daily living during these 40 days of Lent, can we stop at least once every day to ask this question, and then listen for the whisper of God’s Spirit to us guiding our reflection and our response? Perhaps it can become a habit, a holy habit. Jesus was a master of using the everyday to stretch his disciples beyond their usual view of people, their world, and their understanding of God. Have an experience? Witness an event, reading a particular news story? Don’t rush through, stop … pause … consider, Where is God in this?
Ash Wednesday, 7pm
As we gather on the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday, we participate in a liturgy and a ritual that is ancient in its origins. Our prayer book tells us that these ashes, placed upon our foreheads in the shape of the cross, are a sign that speak to us of the frailty and uncertainty of human life. As they are placed upon our heads, we hear the chorus ringing over us as the celebrant moves from person to person, ‘Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.’ This may seem an odd, even morbid focus for us, in a society that goes to great lengths to avoid the reality of our own morality, but on this very special evening, far from running from our own mortality, we stand before it, in all its harshness, and we give a nod to its truth. It is no lie, we are dust and to dust we will return. Everything eventually passes. Yet within the parameters of our beginnings and endings, in the interlude called life – much is possible as we acknowledge the love given to us by God, and moving out into the world we strive to extend it to those who spend so many of their days painfully aware that they are dust. It is somehow, nestled in the finiteness of life, and in the rhythmic gesture of this night, that we are invited into each day to acknowledge its fresh brilliance while allowing our resolve to grow ever stronger in service to our God … mindful, grateful, and infused with love. Ash Wednesday, not a service that you usually attend? Never too late to start a good habit. We are especially blessed this year that Bishop Linda will be with us as Celebrant and Officiant. Please plan on attending.
Special Days and Services
This is actually the day before Lent begins. The day is named for the "shriving" or confessing that was traditional on this day before beginning Lent. This day is also known as Mardi Gras, or "Fat Tuesday," because it was a time for eating the things from which one would abstain during Lent. Pancake suppers are traditional as they were a way of using up some of the ingredients not needed during Lent. St. Anne’s has an annual pancake supper on Shrove Tuesday.
The first day of Lent is marked with fasting, when safe, and a special liturgy. The theme for the day, though not for all of Lent, is that we stand as sinners condemned to die, but for God’s grace. This is symbolized by the imposition of ashes on the forehead, with the words, "You are dust and to dust you shall return." In the Old Testament, ashes were a sign of penitence (feeling regretful at offenses) and mourning.
St. Anne’s holds an Ash Wednesday service at 7 pm in the church.
Stations of the Cross
These are depictions of 14 incidents in the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ death, from the condemnation at Pilate’s house to being placed in the tomb. They are used for the service called the Way of the Cross, which visits each station in turn with a brief reading, response, collect and on some occasions, a meditation. This is particularly appropriate for Good Friday and all Fridays in Lent.
The object of the Stations is to help the faithful to make a spiritual pilgrimage of prayer, through meditating upon the chief scenes of Christ's sufferings and death.
We encourage you to experience this ancient tradition, remembering that Christ died to save us all from sin. Without truly experiencing the agony of His death, we cannot fully understand the glory of his Resurrection.
Stations of the Cross (or Way of the Cross; in Latin, Via Crucis; also called the Via Dolorosa or Way of Sorrows, or simply, The Way) refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion. The tradition as chapel devotion began with St. Francis of Assisi and extended throughout the Roman Catholic Church in the medieval period. It may be done at any time, but is most commonly done during the Season of Lent, especially on Good Friday and on Friday evenings during Lent.
The object of the Stations is to help us make a spiritual pilgrimage of prayer, through meditating upon the chief scenes of Christ's sufferings and death. It has become one of the most popular devotions for many Christians.
The Stations themselves are (usually) a series of 14 pictures or sculptures depicting the following:
1. Jesus is condemned to death
2. Jesus receives the cross
3. Jesus falls the first time
4. Jesus meets His Mother
5. Simon of Cyrene carries the cross
6. Veronica wipes Jesus' face with her veil
7. Jesus falls the second time
8. Jesus meets the daughters of Jerusalem
9. Jesus falls the third time
10. Jesus is stripped of His garments
11. Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross
12. Jesus dies on the cross
13. Jesus' body is removed from the cross (Deposition or Lamentation)
14. Jesus is laid in the tomb and covered in incense
Each of us wants and needs to have space for quiet, for then one begins to see with the eyes of the heart” - Desmond Tutu.
Come to the Via Dolorosa and take up the Cross. Be with Jesus as He makes his final walk on this earth. Each Station bears its own witness to Our Lord’s final grueling journey. Who will you identify with? Perhaps with Simon of Cyrene who helps and picks up the cross, or perhaps with Veronica who steps out of the crowd to wipe the sweat from His eyes?
Take time this Lent, to not only “talk the talk”, but also “walk the walk”. Experience what happened over 2,000 years ago and know how much He loved us then and how much He loves us now.