During this season of Lent, I invite you to spend some time meditating on Jesus' road to Calvary, and on the ways we can better carry our own crosses in life.
1. Jesus is Condemned to Death
Jesus stood before Pilate an innocent man yet he was condemned to death.
Dear Lord, help me to not be so quick to judge others. Help me try to understand them and why they act as they do. Help me to see other people as you see them.
2. Jesus Carries his Cross
Jesus, already tired and broken, picked up the heavy cross to begin the journey to Calvary.
Dear Lord, help me, even when I am exhausted and worn out, to fulfill my daily duties. Please help me to accept the crosses that come my way and to bear them with a willing spirit.
3. Jesus Falls the First Time
Jesus falls down under the weight of the cross, yet somehow he finds the strength to get up and try again. Many times I feel overwhelmed and ready to collapse under the weight.
Dear Lord, help me to keep going even when I feel I can't take another step.
4. Jesus meets his Mother
Even in his darkest hour, Jesus' Mother Mary was there.
Dear Lord, please help me to be with others in their pain. Help me to offer comfort and consolation and to be a source of strength for others as they travel through life.
5. Jesus is helped by Simon
Simon wasn't looking to help. He was just one of the crowd, but he was pressed into service.
There are many times I don't want to help, either. It's easy to turn away and think someone else will do the work. Dear Lord, help me to help wherever I am needed. Don't let me turn my back on anyone in need.
6. Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus
Veronica reached out to Jesus, offering an act of kindness at a time when he needed it most.
Who do I know who is hurting? Dear Lord, help me to be the person who comes in to offer kindness when the whole world has gone out.
7. Jesus Falls the Second Time
Again Jesus falls and again he gets up.
Sometimes life can be so discouraging. It feels like the whole world is against me. I want to give up, to fall down and surrender the fight. Dear Lord, please help me to have the courage to continue. Help me to face another day.
8. Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem
Even in the midst of his pain, Jesus stops to comfort the women who were weeping by the side of the road.
It is so easy when I am in pain for me to just think about me. Dear Lord, even when I am hurting, help me to remember that others are hurting also. Help me to not be self-centered and to continue to reach out to those who need me.
9. Jesus Falls the Third Time
The end of the journey is near and Jesus falls again. He struggles to get up and continue one last time.
Dear Lord, help me to continue when the way is hard and I have lost all hope. Please guide my faltering steps.
10. Jesus is Stripped of his Garments
In the end, Jesus had nothing, not even his clothes.
Dear Lord, please help me to share my material goods with others, to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. Also let me help those who are emotionally naked and who have been left exposed to the world. Help me to never revel in another person's shame but to instead reach out a helping hand or offer a word on her behalf.
11. Jesus is Nailed to the Cross
With each nail, the pain grew greater, each blow a vivid reminder of our sins.
Dear Lord, thank you for your love for me. Thank you for dying to forgive my sins. Help me to do your will.
12. Jesus Dies on the Cross
Jesus suffered immeasurable torment on the cross, both physical and emotional. He cried out to his father in heaven, "My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?" Yet he also found the strength to forgive his persecutors.
Dear Lord, at times when I feel abandoned, help me to remember that you understand and are always at my side.
13. Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross
Jesus was taken down from the cross and his lifeless body was laid in his nother's arms. The pain Mary must have felt as she held her son. She was the mother of a convicted criminal. Truly a "sword had pierced her heart."
Dear Lord, help me to remember the mothers who have lost children to violence and criminal activity. Help me to pray for them as they suffer so much pain.
14. Jesus is Laid in the Tomb
And then there was darkness. The tomb was a place of transition for Jesus - a stopping place between death and new life.
Dear Lord, please help me as I go through my own times in the tomb, times when I feel lost and scared, fearful of change. Help me to see your light, guiding me safely to new life.