One of my most favorite activities at St Mary's is our soup and speaker, On Fridays during Lent a group is responsible for bring in meatless soups and bread. A person or persons share their faith, or faith experience. The we all go to the church for stations of the cross. It is always very good. We have had up to ninety people for the evening.
Now stations of the cross is an ancient habit of walking the path of the Crucifixion of Jesus. Of course in our churches we have depictions of the key or central events of the way of the cross. These can be paintings, plaster cast, or carvings. There are fourteen stations. While around since the fifth century, they were developed by Francis of Assisi in the thirteenth century.
While the stations can be prayed at any time, they are most popular during Lent. Throughout the stations, as we reflect on the sufferings of the Chriist, we are also to ask ourselves when and where we may have rejected people, judged others, mocked people, or in any way neglected compassion and charity. There is a real social justice component with the stations since the gospel stories convey to us the central role ofthe crowds. We understand how social Sin can destruct persons or groups and hide behind the mask of the crowd.
Last nights speaker(s) was our youth. We had three of our teen leaders briefly present how they came to the place where they are. To be sure for each of them it has been a journey of faith. Even though they did not expand on the experience much, it is very hard today to be Christ centered in the public sphere. Especially if one is a teenager. But that is the cross aspect of their lives to be sure. They did a great job in talking about that one conversion experience, and the necessity of going back to the table to be fed and nourished. In matter of fact one of the girls talked about Liturgy, prayer, and scripture as being so very important in maintaining her faith and keeping herself focused on Jesus.
It is always neat to gather to pray with the people of God, especially after we have been inspired by such faithful witnesses. Personally I like to sit in the back of the church in the corner. But it is a good time to pray, reflect, and contemplate the source of our salvation.