Thursday, March 12, 2009

Stations of the Cross

Each year during Lent I attend St. Jude's Catholic Church for stations of the Cross. I do this for several reasons.

1. My friend attends St. Jude's. The Catholics are a little tight on the communion thing if you aren't Catholic. If you are Episcopalian (I am) or Catholic, you basically attend church for the communion, so I'm less inclined to go to a service with Communion. Stations doesn't, so it works out. We usually try to get dinner before or after, but we've had a little trouble making that work this year.

2. The priest there, Father Church, used to be Episcopalian. In fact, he was my priest while I was growing up. It is terribly unfortunate that he became dissatisfied with the Episcopal church and stood up one Sunday and said we should all be Catholic. It did not, as you might imagine, go well. It tore our little church apart and created A LOT of hard feelings. Still, I have great memories of him and growing in my faith through and because of him.

3. They have the most beautiful stations of the cross I've ever seen. In fact, I snagged the booklet so that I could show at least one of the images. In the back there is an informational piece about the artist. It reads:

The pencil sketches were drawn by a young Texas artist Cody Harrington. Cody, age 22, was commissioned to paint the fourteen Stations of the Cross to hang in the archways of our new building. It was decided that the pencil sketches submitted as design concepts were so magnificent, that paintings would be too overpowering.

The images represent Cody's interpretation of the Mel Gibson 2004 film, The Passion of the Christ. The adaptation from this genre brings a unique sense of motion to the Stations of the Cross, creating the illusion that you are there. From these images, we are able to see the reaction on the faces of the people in the crowd, the cruelty of the guards, the sorrow of the women and the surrender of Christ.

4. Besides being my priest, Fr. Church (isn't that a great name?) gives great sermons. For the Stations, he is talking about the last 7 phrases of Christ and why they were so important. He has always done a great job of helping to place events of the Bible in historical context so that events are even more powerful and full of meaning than they are on their own.

5. I love Stations of the Cross, and the church I attend doesn't do them. I think they really help to remind me about what kind of person I want to be and why it is so important to stay focused on what I believe.

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