Praying the Stations of the Cross, Part Six

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series on the Stations of the Cross from www.soulshepherding.com!  If you are able, find a retreat where you can pray the stations of the cross as you prepare for Easter!

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Have No Fear of Death – 14th Station – Jesus’ Body is Laid in the Tomb by Joseph

Praise the Lord: I praise you Lord Jesus Christ.  By your cross you gave us your life and showed us how to live.

Read Scriptures:  Matthew 27:57-60; Psalm 39:5, 11

Contemplate in Silence

Consider Your Need for Christ:  Prayerfully anticipating your death tomorrow does much to improve your life today.

Death is the ultimate insult to us.  We have no control over how we die, when we die, or what happens next.  We may suffer pain.  We may experience deterioration of our capacities and be dependent on other people to care for us.  We may die before we reach old age.  We will leave this world with some hopes unfulfilled and some work not finished.

Death means complete submission to God.  We have to let go of everyone and everything in our lives—even our own bodies.

It’s no wonder that most of us don’t like to think about our death!  But the Psalmist continually returns to praying about his eventual death.  He knows his life is like a flower that flourishes for a while and then is gone; he’s like grass, dust, or a puff of smoke blowing in the wind and passing through; he’s just a breath (Ps 102:3; 103:14-16; 39:5, 11).  By meditating on his death in view of God’s love he cultivates the life of his soul, or to be more accurate, he participates in the life of God in his soul right now (which usually happens not in the middle of great achievements or amazing experiences but in quiet moments or ordinary stuff with people you love).

You can be sure that Joseph of Arimathea was contemplating his own death before God as he walked inside the cave that was his own tomb carrying the dead body of Jesus.  And you can be sure that he walked out of his tomb a changed man, particularly when Jesus Christ walked out of his tomb alive!

It’s the same for you and me.  To experience more of the risen Christ’s activity in your life you need to enter your tomb in prayer – accept the brevity of your life and submit everything about your life to your Lord and his kingdom.

Pray:  Lord Jesus Christ, when you died Joseph of Arimathea cared for your precious body and gave his own tomb to you.  We don’t like to think about going into a grave – it feels so dark and final and it reminds us that we miss our loved ones who have died.  But then we remember that you sent into the grave and came out on the other side!  You rose from the dead!

Dear Lord, give us courage to offer our tomb to you as Joseph did.  Keep reminding us that today our opportunity is to die to ourselves for you, submitting ourselves completely to you, abandoning all outcomes to you, putting our bodies and our whole selves into the grave with you.  In the dark help us to wait faithfully for your light and life to enter in.

Reflect:  How do you feel when you consider your death?  The death of a loved one?  How would you live differently today if you took seriously the possibility that you might die soon?

Take up your Cross and Follow Jesus:  Imagine your body being put into a grave and your spirit raising with Christ into the heavens—this will help you live today with and for Jesus as if it were your last day on earth.

Abide in Christ:  To help you let go of life on your own terms, appreciate the brevity of your life on earth, and live for God in this moment try this breath prayer:  “My life is a breath….Selah…I am a breath…Selah.  My life is God’s breath…Selah…I am God’s breath…Selah…” (Ps 39:5, 11)

Follow the Risen Christ: 15th Station: Jesus’ Resurrection is announced to the Women at the Tomb

Praise the Lord:  I praise you Lord Jesus Christ.  By your cross you gave us your life and showed us how to live.

Read Scripture:  Mark 16:1, 4-7; Galatians 5:25)

Contemplate in Silence

Consider your Need for Christ:  The large stone had to be removed from the tomb of Jesus for the women on that first Easter morning —and for us! — To see that Jesus’ tomb was empty!

Thank God for the angel’s greeting:  “Christ is risen!”

This is your opportunity to respond with me to the testimony of angels and apostles:  “He is risen indeed!”

It’s the best news!  It’s the centerpiece of all that we hold dear in our faith.  It’s the gospel.  In fact, Jesus’ incarnation and cross and all his love and miracles in between are meaningless without his resurrection.  Christ’s resurrection is history that changed the world—but it still may be inert doctrine for you if the large stone has not been rolled away from the entrance to your heart.  You are messing the impact of the resurrection if you are not participating in the life that the risen Christ is now living with you.  His Spirit is beside you right now.  When you trust in him he lives and breathes in you, he talks with you and guides you.  When you put your confidence in him, not just in your own abilities, then he acts with you and through you as you do what you are doing.  This is the secret to life!

The way to join with risen Lord Jesus Christ in your life today is to apprentice yourself to him as your Mentor and Teacher in all things.  This means dedicating yourself to be his student and offering your daily life to be his classroom.

What a God-adventure I find myself in as I approach all the situations of my life with the anticipation that the risen Christ is going ahead of me and I am following him, listening for his voice and looking to his hand.  Will you join me?

Pray:  Lord Jesus Christ, you’re alive!  You were crucified for us and you’ve risen from the dead!  You’ve prepared a place for us in heaven with the Father and you’ve brought the kingdom of the heavens to us now. Thank you that you brought us God’s forgiveness and new life and you go ahead of us wherever we go to care for us and guide us in your peace.

O Risen Christ, forgive me for the ways that I have not worshiped you as the women did on that first Easter morning.  Roll away the stone in my life that blocks my vision from seeing you alive and working with me in all that I do.  By your Spirit of grace help me to open my heart to see and trust you at work in the challenges that I am facing today.  And give me courage to share with others the Good News that you are the Savior and Lord.

Reflect:  In what situation in your life are you struggling to see the risen Christ at work?  Is self-imposed pressure or discouragement like a large stone blocking your vision of what Christ is doing in this situation?

Take up your Cross to Follow Jesus:  Determine not to rely on just your own abilities and energies in your personal challenges and instead to look for the risen Christ in your midst so you can worship him and be a witness for him to others.

Abide in Christ:  Identify a personal challenge and then as you anticipate dealing with this gently repeat the breath prayer:  The risen Christ goes ahead of me into _________” (Mark 16:7)

Got anything to say? Go ahead and leave a comment!