For The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — Christians are familiar with the Passion of Christ, the last period of Jesus’ life, covering his entrance to Jerusalem and leading to his crucifixion. The Passion underscores Christ’s suffering. But how does that suffering speak to Christians today and what does it call on Christians to do?
Those questions will be explored when Grace Lutheran Church offers “Stations of the Cross: A Meditation on Suffering, a Message of Hope” from 8:30 a.m. to noon Feb. 17 at the church’s Pat Bell Hall, 1140 E. High St. Father Bud Grant, professor of theology at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, will be the featured speaker.
“The death and resurrection of Christ is the central, pivotal moment of all Christian faith. To experience it puts us in the story — immerses us in the experience. It also raises the question of theodicy, of why do innocent people suffer? By focusing on the Stations of the Cross, we will draw people into the Passion of Christ in a contemporary way that is relevant to our time,” Fr. Grant says.
“The Stations of the Cross (or Via Dolorosa: The Way of Sadness) is an ancient Christian prayer that immerses us into the experience of the last hours of Christ’s life. At each of these 14 ‘stations,’ we prayerfully reflect on Christ’s suffering for our salvation and are called to respond to the suffering Christ in our world. We become Simon of Cyrene, called for a brief time from our normal lives to be bearers of the Cross of Jesus — the same Christ who makes our crosses bearable and our burdens light,” he added.
Incorporating works of Christian art and music, along with today’s news headlines to heighten the experience of the Passion, Fr. Grant will refer to history and theology to interpret the meaning of that experience and offer guidance on how to “lean on one another for help to embrace the Way of the Cross.”
Fr. Grant hopes people who attend will gain “a sense of enhanced awareness, alertness that the suffering of Christ is part of the world in which we live and then will respond to it by reaching out a hand where there is a need. We all intuitively know that and viscerally want to do that, but feel overwhelmed by all of the suffering we see and feel such guilt. My hope is that people will feel relieved of that burden of guilt. Christ doesn’t want us to solve all of our world’s problems. He just wants us to care for each other. We just need to respond as we are able when we encounter it.”
For more information or to register, contact Grace Lutheran Church at (563) 322-0769