Looking for some new ideas for the coming church season? This edition of Looking Ahead to includes ideas you can use or adapt to create a program for Holy Week.
WALKING WITH JESUS
“Walking with Jesus” is a stations-of-the-cross program designed for Holy Week, especially appropriate for Maundy Thursday or Good Friday. The program includes visits to 5 stations set up at different locations around the church. (Some may be outside, depending on weather and church grounds.) Decorations and preparation for the stations are fairly simple.
On the day of the event, you’ll need at least two people to serve as helpers at each station. Send groups of 6-12 people through the walk at a time, beginning at the entrance, and rotate them through the stations every 10 minutes. All ages can participate in this walk.
STATION # 1 – Entrance
The experience begins at the front door of the church, where the group is given a short introduction about how to proceed. The sidewalk leading to the front doors should be covered with fabric pieces and palm branches (fake or real), setting the scene for walking into Jerusalem.
Introduction – Tonight we invite you to experience the final days of Jesus’ time here on earth. We invite you to walk from station to station in the steps of the disciples. So come now—let’s begin our journey. Let’s follow Jesus on the road to the cross.
STATION #2 – Hand Washing
In the church foyer or entryway set up a hand-washing station. Helpers in this station will wash and dry the hands of individuals as they pass by, while sharing the story of Jesus washing the disciple’s feet from Eugene Peterson’s The Message; John 13: 1-20. It works well to have one person hold the bowl while the other dries hands with the towel.
Send group to the STATION # 3 – The Upper Room
This room should be set up with a low table and foods from the Seder meal. Invite the group to sit on the floor around the table, and to taste and/or smell the foods (Zeroah– lamb bone, beytza-egg, maror-bitter herb, haroset-apple mixture, karpas-parsley or celery, matzot–unleavened bread, grape juice) as the Scripture is read: Luke 22: 7-23.
For help in preparing these food for your event, check out one of these sites: http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/the-symbolic-foods-at-a-passover-seder.html
Send group on to STATION #4 – Garden of Gethsemane (preferably outside, near a tree or garden)
Share the Scripture, Mark 14:32-50, and invite the visitors to imagine they are in the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. What do they see? What do they hear? What are the disciples feeling? What is Jesus experiencing? What are they feeling?
Send group to cross for STATION # 5 – Golgotha (outside in sight of a cross)
With the cross in sight, share the Scripture, Luke 23:33-49. Ask the group to be completely silent for a minute or two, thinking about what Jesus did for them. Invite them to look at the cross, to think deeply about what it means for each one of us.
Return groups to the Sanctuary for their final Station
If you are waiting for other groups to join you, invite those waiting to share their experiences. What did you find most meaningful on your journey? What surprised you? What touched your heart? What new thing did you discover?
Conclude with words like these:
We walked with him through his final week, step by step, stop by stop. We know that this was not an ordinary walk. We know this is not an ordinary week. We’ve experienced how Jesus might have spent his final days. And we know he suffered all of this for us.
But unlike the disciples, who also walked in his footsteps, we know what’s coming! We know that Easter is almost here—and that Jesus is stronger than evil and death! So leave today remembering the walk but also with hearts filled with the joy of knowing Easter is just around the corner.
Developed by Sandy Safford for FAITHSENSE Consultants for Educational Ministries, LLP
Sandy Safford has served as a Christian Educator for 25 years serving a variety of churches in Utah and Colorado. Currently a Commissioned Ruling Elder serving Byers Community Church as pastor in a rural Presbyterian Church (USA) in eastern Colorado. Also serve as a Partner and Consultant for FAITHSENSE Consultants for Educational Ministries, LLP.