The Footsteps of Christ

\The Footsteps of Christ in 2020 St. Michael & All Angels.

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25)

Welcome

These are clearly very strange and difficult times at the moment. Many of us are finding the experience even at the relative beginning (though some of you may be a few weeks in), of the isolation proceedure, a very disorientating experience. Our developing sense of what isolation feels like, may, though, enrich our understanding of the journey our Lord Jesus Christ experienced on the way to the cross. What follows is a form of service based around our stations of the cross, walking together as the community of St. Michael's and the wider community beyond, whom we serve.  May I suggest that we try to walk this path together, and use this service at set times, 10.00 in the morning and 7.00 at night, using one station at a time.  Starting the morning of Friday, 3rd. April, we will finish on the the evening of Thursday 9th April, (Maundy Thursday). This way we may truly be walking the path together as a community, separated physically but together in prayer. Do as much of each session as you wish. Sing if you want to even if you think you can’t (no one will hear you!).  sing in your heart if that feels easier, take from it what feels right to you, but do try to say the ALL sections outloud. I do hope you find this a helpful time of spiritual growth, prayer, reflection and togetherness.

Blessings, Revd Debbie.

Opening Prayer

Let us pray.

Almighty and everlasting God, who in your love towards the human race sent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ to take upon him our flesh and to suffer death upon the cross: grant that we may follow the example of his patience and humility, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Friday, 3rd. April  2020 10.00am.

1st Station – Jesus is condemned to death.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you,

All. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

“I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves”. (Matt 27; 24)

Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent of the charges brought against him, and tried to free him. But Pilate's heart was divided between the life of a man he believed innocent yet barely knew, and that of his own standing and self-interest. Pilate takes the route of self preservation, washes his hands of responsibility and condemns Jesus to death. Jesus is sentenced to die by crucifixion a criminal’s death.

Only hours earlier in Gethsemane Jesus accepted without reservation all that His Father asked of Him. “My Father, if it is possible let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” (Matt 26; 39)

All. Lord Jesus, you were innocent, yet consented to suffer for me. I am Pilate's every time I fail to do what is right, allow injustice to happen, or blame others for my own failures. I am guilty; bring me to acknowledge my sins and accept your forgiveness.

Time of quiet.   Lord, have mercy.

We sing; Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom x 2.

 

Friday, 3rd. April 2020.

2nd Station – Jesus receives his cross.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you,

All. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

The prayer of Gethsemane becomes reality as Jesus’ hands lift the tree of Golgotha. The weight of the trunk cuts into his beaten and bruised body. As he lifts the cross, Jesus accepts his calling and upon his heart carries the sins of the world.

All.  Lord Jesus, out of love for me you took up your cross and bore my sins. Forgive me, Lord, when my selfishness has burdened others, and grant me the strength to face the trials of my calling as a Christian, so that I am always ready to take up my cross and follow you.

 

Time of quiet.  Lord, have mercy.

 We sing; Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom x 2.

 

Saturday, 4th April 2020  10.00am.

3rd Station – Jesus falls for the first time.

 

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you,

All. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Jesus, weakened and weary from his beating, slips on the cobbled street and falls to the ground. Cajoled by the pain of the whip, his inner strength helps him to struggle and rise to stand once more.

All; The weight of my sins added to the weight of your cross. It is my weakness that made you weak, and my fall that made you fall. In your rising you showed me that I too can rise from my fall in your strength. Forgive me for the times I have fallen or caused others to fall.

Time of quiet.   Lord, have mercy.

We sing; Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom x 2.

 

Saturday, 4th April 2020 7.00pm.

4th Station – Jesus meets Mary his Mother.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you,

All. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

“This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed – and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” (Lk 2; 34-36).

What sorrow and pain Mary must be experiencing. Yet her strength and compassion compel her be there for her son, suffering with Him, when so many others have deserted Him.

All. Jesus, when you met your mother, you recognised the anguish of her heart. Forgive me for the times I have been indifferent to the sufferings of others. Make in me a heart ready to love without restraint.

Time of quiet. Lord, have mercy.

We sing; Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom x 2.

 

Sunday, 5th April 2020 10.00am,

5th Station – Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry the cross.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you,

All. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

As Jesus struggled under the burden of the cross, Simon of Cyrene is compelled to help. Simon takes some of the weight from Jesus’ shoulders.

All. Lord, you accepted the help of a stranger in bearing your cross. Help me to accept the help of others, so that I may help you to carry out your work of mercy in this world. Forgive me for the times I have neglected my responsibility to ease the burdens of others.

 

Time of quiet.  Lord, have mercy.

We sing; Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom x 2.

 

Sunday, 5th April 2020 7.00pm.

6th Station – Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you,

All. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Since Jesus’ arrest, where were all his friends, where were all those who had laid palms at his feet only days earlier? At a time when it was safer not to be associated with Jesus, Veronica bravely steps forward full of compassion and wipes away the sweat and blood from His face.

All. Lord Jesus you left the imprint of your sorrow on Veronica’s cloth. Imprint your love upon my heart, that one day I may see you face to face. Lord forgive me when I fail to see and attend to you in the sufferings of others.

 

Time of quiet. Lord, have mercy.

We sing; Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom x 2.

 

Monday, 6th April 2020 10.00am.

7th Station – Jesus falls for the second time.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you,

All. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Once again Jesus loses his footing amid the crowds of the busy streets and falls upon the hard unyielding cobbled ground.

All. Forgive me, Lord, when my heart is hard and unyielding. Soften my heart to weep for your suffering, so that by your grace I may help to lift you up.

 

 

 

Time of quiet. Lord, have mercy.

We sing; Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom x 2

 

Monday, 6th April 2020 7.00pm.

8th Station – Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you,

All. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

The women of Jerusalem weep for Jesus and offer Him a drink to dull the pain. Jesus’ response is reproachful. “…do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.”

All. Our tears, so often born of sentimentality, are of no use to your suffering world.  May our tears lead not only to acceptance of your love but also to your judgement. Bring us, Lord, to a full conversion and living faith. Forgive us, Lord, when we fail to offer more than tears to the suffering of others.

 

Time of quiet. Lord, have mercy.

We sing; Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom x 2.

 

Tuesday, 7th April 2020 10.00am.

9th Station – Jesus falls for the third time.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you,

All. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Jesus lies utterly exhausted physically and emotionally on the ground, and yet, in love for us, musters the strength to rise once more and continue on His way.

All. I am weak and helpless without you, forgive me for the times I have lost heart and fallen into despair.  Lord as you fall into the dust from which we are made, may I never feel so unloved as to fall utterly from you.

 

 

Time of quiet.  Lord, have mercy.

We sing; Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom x 2.

 

Tuesday, 7th April 2020 7.00pm.

10th Station – Jesus is stripped of his garments.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you,

All. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

The soldiers strip Jesus of his garments and of his personhood. Jesus stands as an outcast, expelled from society, as we were expelled from Paradise. Jesus takes on the condition of our fallen humanity. Yet amid the degradation and his suffering his dignity remains, for dignity comes from within, from who He is, not from what he possesses.

All, Strip me, Lord, I pray, of all the trappings of power, success and possessions beneath which I try to hide the naked ambition and love of self. Forgive me, Lord, for the times I have set my heart on the trappings of this world rather than on you.

Time of quiet. Lord, have mercy.

We sing; Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom x 2.

 

Wednesday, 8th April 2020 10.00am.

11th Station – Jesus is nailed to the cross.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you,

All. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

The nails are hammered through the flesh of Jesus, the noise echoing through time and space. The pain, thirst, blood loss and suffocation are compounded by the torment of the jeers from those who conspired in his death. “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!”

All. Lord Jesus Christ, willingly nailed to the cross for me. Draw me into your wounds that I may be made one with you, in life and death. Forgive me for when fear of suffering has held me back from doing what is right in your sight.

 

Time of quiet. Lord, have mercy.

We sing; Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom x 2.

 

Wednesday, 8th April 2020. 

12th Station – Jesus dies upon the cross.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you,

All. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

“Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit” Jesus breathes his last and dies.

Now lifted up, he fulfils the commandment of love, His offering of himself. In the very place of darkness and suffering, where God seems defeated and absent, God becomes known.

All. Lord Jesus Christ, you are my Saviour and King, my hope and refuge, my Lord and God. In dying for me you completed the work of my salvation. I rejoice in the power of your victory, and praise you for my new life. Lord forgive me my sins and the sins of all the world.

Time of quiet. Lord, have mercy.

We sing; Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom x 2.

 

Thursday, 9th April 2020 10.00am

 

13th Station – Jesus is taken down from the cross.

So many had deserted him, so few remained. And now Jesus lay dead in his Mother's arms.

All. Mary, mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, once more you held in your arms your child, the Saviour of the World. Forgive us, Lord, when we have failed in duty and love. As your children we beseech you to receive us in your loving arms, now and at the time of our death.

 

 

 

Time of quiet. Lord, have mercy.

We sing; Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom x 2.

 

Thursday, 9th April 2020 7.00pm

14th Station – Jesus is laid in the tomb.

 

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you,

All. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Wrapped in linen cloth, his wounds of suffering await the transformation into wounds of glory. The ordeal is over and victory is won.

All. Lord as your body rested in the tomb, hallowing it for my new birth, make me ready to die daily to sin and prepare me for life in all its fullness. Forgive me, Lord, for the times I have feared death and forgotten the resurrection.

 

Time of quiet. Lord, have mercy.

We sing; Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom x 2.

Let us Pray as our Saviour has taught us.

 Our Father…

  Concluding Prayer

Most merciful God, who by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ delivered and saved the world: grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross we may triumph in the power of his victory; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit one God, now and for ever.  Amen

The Lord be with you.           

And also with you.

May God bless us, that in us may be found love and humility, obedience and thanksgiving, discipline, gentleness and peace.

 

Amen.