Faith walk this Good Friday, again
Last year on Good Friday, a group of Chugiak-Eagle River Christian churches (through Love INC. of Eagle River) celebrated together a traditional prayer service called the “Stations of the Cross.” This year, the “Stations” will be held at the River of Life Lutheran Church, located in Chugiak at 21301 Voyles Blvd. “Faith Walkers” can start their stops at the stations beginning at 5 p.m. on March 29 (Good Friday).
At the stops, one prays at a location that has an artistic scene of the passion and death of Jesus. This faith walk is centuries old. Early pilgrims went to Jerusalem, to see where Jesus walked on Good Friday, and prayed there. When the Holy Land was cut off from the European pilgrims in the Middle Ages, somebody got the idea to replicate the locations (stations) to try to get the same experience. In local churches or on the grounds surrounding a church, stations were put up. The tradition of the stations was, of course, brought to America by immigrants. Traditionally, there are fourteen prayer stations. They start at the Garden of Gethsemane and end at Jesus’ tomb. Last year, many found doing the stations a very good prayer experience.
This year at the Lutheran Church parking lot there will be fourteen scenes of Jesus’ passion. A booklet of prayers for the stations will be provided. The leader says an opening and closing prayer verse. In between, there is a Scriptural reading (NRSV), based upon the corresponding Gospel account for that station. Thus, this is called Scriptural Stations of the Cross. It’s all pretty straight-forward. It takes only about 20-30 minutes to do the outdoor faith walk.
This is billed as a youth and family event; but of course it is open to all ages. It is suggested that each church come with a youth leader(s), who then leads the group (of youth and adults) in prayer at the stations. But, one can come individually and join a group or go it alone; groups can also join up and go together. River of Life, as the host church, will be providing sodas, coffee, and hot chocolate afterwards at a hospitality table.
So what’s in it for you or your church group? Well first of all, a joint prayer service will show that, in the big picture, we are one in Jesus. For us individually, we get graces for ourselves so that we can be good witnesses to our neighbor, our community, and the whole world. Because Jesus came for the whole world, let’s together rejoice and celebrate His Good Friday, for we know there is an Easter ending that can’t be beat.
Eugene Cyrus has lived in Alaska since 1974 and has been a member of St. Andrew for over 30 years. He lives with his wife Dorothy in Chugiak, and is spending his retirement in youth ministry and youth sports.