As I wrote about last week, observing the Stations of the Cross during Lent deeply shaped me as a Protestant kid attending a Catholic school.
That said, one difficulty some Protestants have with the Stations of the Cross is that some of the stations aren't found in the bible. The traditional Stations of the Cross are these:
- Jesus is condemned to death
- Jesus carries his cross
- Jesus falls the first time
- Jesus meets his mother
- Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the cross
- Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
- Jesus falls the second time
- Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
- Jesus falls the third time
- Jesus' clothes are taken away
- Jesus is nailed to the cross
- Jesus dies on the cross
- Jesus is taken down from the cross
- Jesus is laid in the tomb
According to Catholic tradition Veronica was a pious woman of Jerusalem who was moved with pity upon seeing Jesus carrying his cross to Golgotha. As Jesus passed Veronica wiped his face. A miracle occurred in that an impression of Jesus's face was left upon the cloth called "The Veil of Veronica."
As a Protestant kid, this story was new to me. As were Stations Three, Seven and Nine. I was unaware that Jesus fell, precisely three times, on his way to the cross.
These extra-biblical Stations may make some Protestants hesitant to observe or use the Stations of the Cross during Lent. However, in 1991 pope John Paul II introduced what is called the Scriptural or Biblical Stations of the Cross. These fourteen Stations are each tied to a part of the Passion narrative in the gospels. Protestants, I'm guessing, would be more comfortable with these, the Scriptural Stations of the Cross:
- Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26: 36-41)
- Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested (Mark 14: 43-46)
- Jesus is condemned by the Sanhedrin (Luke 22: 66-71)
- Jesus is denied by Peter (Matthew 26: 69-75)
- Jesus is judged by Pilate (Mark 15: 1-5, 15)
- Jesus is scourged and crowned with thorns (John 19: 1-3)
- Jesus takes up his cross (John 19: 6, 15-17)
- Jesus is helped by Simon to carry his cross (Mark 15: 21)
- Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem (Luke 23: 27-31)
- Jesus is crucified (Luke 23: 33-34)
- Jesus promises his kingdom to the repentant thief (Luke 23: 39-43)
- Jesus entrusts Mary and John to each other (John 19: 25-27)
- Jesus dies on the cross (Luke 23: 44-46)
- Jesus is laid in the tomb (Matthew 27: 57-60)
Also, if you have a smart phone there are Stations of the Cross apps you can get. I have one on my phone and I've been using it to observe the Stations during Lent.
This Protestant kid has come a long, long way.