Finding The Way of The Cross in Nature

Editor’s Note: The Way of the Cross is also referred to as Stations of the Cross.

I developed this guide for children and this guide for adults in my parish during the chaos of that first pandemic spring. I wanted a way for people to connect with The Way of the Cross prayers and meditations while we were unable to gather or even leave the near vicinity of our homes. Unfortunately, I also knew that giving families practice with speaking about heavy topics like death and sorrow with children would be all the more important in this moment.

About These Guides

These guides provide children and adults a way to discover that the story of Good Friday and the cross is written into the natural world about them if they only know where to look! “Stations” are very common natural occurrences and not hard to spot – such as a flower or fallen log. The guide allows the experience of the stations to be self-directed and done at one’s own pace. Each station includes a relevant scripture passage, a prayer from the Book of Common Prayer, and a reflection question. In the children’s guide, each station has a summary of the story of the station, a sentence from scripture, a simple prayer, a wondering question, and a simple activity for an embodied response.

Notes for Leaders

As a congregational leader, you could consider finding stations in a local park or nature walk nearby your own parish. You can mark the stations subtly with red yarn and a numbered tag, then share a map of the stations with your parish. Encourage your parishioners to visit the stations on their own or just within their household for added safety! Some of the magic of this guide, of course, is discovering the stations on one’s own. The photos in the guide are from the stations I found around my own local nature walk. You may want to replace the photos with stations you find. These stations were easy to find in New England climate in early March (such as the flower and lots of trees). You may want to adjust the stations to what works in your climate and with your flora and fauna! The path I used was blessed with many convenient benches for the “Jesus falls” stations, so an added challenge might be adapting to finding places where folks can sit to rest in silence comfortably.

Sharing the Stations of the Cross Virtually

For a virtual experience, I created a Prezi presentation that allows someone to “walk” by clicking on the stations along a map. I embedded the Prezi presentation on our website and you can explore that tool here. For our virtual Stations of the Cross service, I screen-shared a Zoom Live with a Prezi presentation of the guide to allow folks to virtually follow along with me as I prayed. The technology didn’t work quite right last year, but you can see a video of this here. The first part of the video shows how folks can use the virtual tool on their own.

Download a PDF of The Way of the Cross in Nature for children here.
Download a PDF of The Way of the Cross in Nature for adults here.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash.

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