Stations of the Cross
April 10, 2020
A Better Story: Stations of the Cross
A few years ago, the campus I worked for found itself in crisis. I had the good (or ill) fortune of arriving to work there just in time to casually bump into the crisis over dinner with colleagues only to watch it completely explode several months later. Life, learning, and work nearly halted for several months. A number of people were quite traumatized by the events that unfolded given that public shaming and blaming were regular features of the crisis.
The events leading up to the crisis and those that unfolded thereafter had been rehearsed by virtually every member of the campus. Every meeting, every lunch, every happy hour, every dinner turned back to the crisis and each failed attempt at resolving it. After several months, and with no end in sight, I decided that I needed an alternative story. I needed a different narrative to rehearse…a better story.
I started looking for old episodes of Adventures in Odyssey because Focus on the Family was the only thing I was allowed to listen to growing up and, as a kid, I loved these stories. However, I eventually landed on the Chronicles of Narnia because I’ve always loved the imagination of C.S. Lewis. So, for an entire month, I listened to the Chronicles of Narnia – in the author’s preferred order, of course.
Studies in neurobiology have proven that the stories we engage have a way of shaping our sense of reality and what we believe is possible, which I learned during that month. The world around me didn’t change much over the course of that month. However, my own anxiety level dropped considerably and my imagination unlocked, which had a noticeable impact on my ability to innovate amidst crisis.
I was thinking about this moment recently as I turned off my news app notifications, opting instead for a diverse set of lengthier news podcasts while I make dinner each night, which is my version of limited but more substantive information gathering. Our collective anxiety level has increased as we binge stories of death, carnage, and uncertainty. The Queen of Underland (The Silver Chair) persists in her efforts to convince us that there is no reality beyond her cave. “There never was any world but mine,” she says to those she enslaves and holds spellbound, hoping to make them forget who they are and to whom they belong. …but she doesn’t prevail. The spell is broken when each character remembers the Story.
On Good Friday, we mark the moment some 2,000 years ago when the grand redemptive plan of God climaxed in the death (and the eventual resurrection) of Jesus Christ. Today, we remember the story of our redemption by immersing ourselves in the final hours of Jesus’ life. Why? For the same reason the people of Israel told the story of Passover. …because, at times, they would find themselves in new and scary situations in which the physical reminders of God’s salvation wouldn’t be available to them. …but in telling the stories of their rescue they would be reminded that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had always and would always be their best and only hope for salvation.
So, for today, I invite you to immerse yourself in this story. Specifically, the last several hours of Jesus’ life found in Luke 22-23. We’ve put together a Stations of the Cross guide to help you do that. This guide includes selected passages, reflection questions for adults, reflection questions for children offered by our Kids Director, Abby Black, and music selected by our Worship Director, Jared Heddens, to accompany each station.
grace and peace,