Urban Stations of the Cross brings the last days of Jesus to Lexington streets

mmeehan1@herald-leader.comApril 15, 2014 

  • The Stations of the Cross

    The Stations of the Cross is a two-mile procession chronicling the last days of Jesus Christ with scripture and art

    When: 6:30 p.m. April 16

    Where: Starts at Gratz Park, ends at Bell Court. Participants are encouraged to park and gather at First Presbyterian Church, 171 Market St., by 6:15 p.m. to walk to Gratz Park. There will be no transportation back from Bell Court.

    Cost: Free

    Sponsored by: First Presbyterian Church, the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd.

Two Lexington churches are bringing the story of Christ's death to the streets of Lexington with an innovative telling of the Stations of the Cross.

"It's a different idea for all of us," said Mark Davis, pastor of First Presbyterian Church. Davis and Rector Brian Cole of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd have collaborated with a handful of artists to create a processional. Each of the journey's 14 stops, which are spread over a two-mile course through downtown, will feature an art element — sculpture, paintings or poetry.

The Stations of the Cross begin with the story of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and proceeds through his betrayal by Judas, his judgment by Pontius Pilate and his bearing of the cross, and ends with his death and burial.

The stations are traditionally a pivotal part of the Catholic celebration of the Easter season, but they aren't usually celebrated by Presbyterians. They are celebrated by Episcopalians on a congregation-by-congregation basis, he said.

Most Station of the Cross presentations are held during what many Christians refer to as Holy Week, the week before Easter Sunday. This year, Easter is celebrated on April 20.

The idea for this urban processional grew out of an informal conversation between the two religious leaders on how to bring the works of the Bible alive in a way beyond words.

The first thought was, "Why not take this out of the building?" Davis said.

So Davis, who walks about 100 miles a month, took on the task of creating the route. Cole helped get artists involved. The goal is for the artists to capture the emotional impact of a particular aspect of the story, not necessarily to re-create the image of Christ being adorned with a crown of thorns, for example, Cole said.

They will strive, he said, to represent the authentic, spiritual meaning of the sad events that unfold.

Cole said what is thought of as "Christian art" is sometimes considered unintentionally kitschy. The works highlighted during the procession aim to strike a response from the participants that matches the importance of the tale.

"It's not going to be just a great giant head shot of Jesus," he said.

The walk is open to the public. Each participant will receive a pamphlet explaining the origin of the stations and the scripture relating to each stop.

Mary Meehan: (859) 231-3261. Twitter: @bgmoms. Blog: BluegrassMoms.com.

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