Made in God's Image: The Stations of the Cross for Inclusive and Affirming Communities
Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology
While the Eucharistic celebration is the main place where we meet as a Christian community, there are other communal devotions we can use to help us do some introspective growth so that when we actually do come to the altar, we are better able to be “present” and as such experience the real presence of Christ in each other, no matter what our orientation is. The Stations of the Cross became a devotional tool around the middle ages and was used primarily as a traditional praise and thanksgiving for the sacrifice and gift of salvation we received from our Lord. But it has also been used as a meditative tool for persons to make the more subtle connection of Jesus’ image with self —-image. The use of the community Stations of the Cross was a way to bring into a local setting what had formerly only been available to wealthier individuals who were able to make the pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Because of each community’s local “flavor,” it is quite interesting to note that, while the road remains the same, there grew many different literary and artistic renderings and formats. They range from a simple biblical format of the chronolo gy of events to an expository storytelling of correlative experiences or feelings. One will often find, for example, a diversity of ethnic/cultural depictions in the artwork in the stations. This diversification of the same unifying Christ story helps reinforce our self-image connection with Jesus’ image; no matter what our color, gender, or orientation happens to be.