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United Reformed Church Spirituality articles:

Stations of the Resurrection

Sheila Maxey
4 August 2018

In 2011 Brentwood United Reformed Church decided, inspired by a synod workshop on preparing for Easter, to try to raise the profile of Easter both within the church and the local community. For many years members had been involved in Lent Groups and Holy Week services and the Easter flowers were always spectacular. But it seemed as if it was all over by noon on Easter Sunday.

So instead, on the Thursday after Easter we opened the church and invited people to come in and meditate on the resurrection appearances presented in pictures and music.

There were no spoken words, no service, just the opportunity to come into our lovely upstairs church and spend time.

One member who had studied art history with the Open University put together a loop of 80 pictures covering all the stories about the risen Jesus and this played continuously all day and into the evening. Another member put together CDs of Easter music which alternated with live organ Easter music.

We took seven gospel stories: Peter and John discovering the empty tomb; Mary meeting Jesus in the garden; Jesus coming to the disciples through locked doors; Jesus coming again to meet Thomas; the road to Emmaus and the supper at Emmaus; Jesus meeting the disciples by the lakeside and inviting them for breakfast; the Ascension. The seven “stations” each had a board with a picture selected from the 80 on the loop and a key text from that story. Various members, including the Junior Church and the Beavers, took responsibility for each display. A chair or two at each display encouraged visitors to sit for a while. A leaflet with a suggested prayer for each “station” was provided. The communion table was brought into the centre and the table set as a copy of the famous Caravaggio painting of the supper at Emmaus — including the roast chicken!

About 30 people came during the day and early evening, mostly but not wholly from the local church. Many used the word “inspiring” in the visitors’ book.

Those of us involved in the weeks of preparation certainly entered deeply into the mystery of the resurrection through this.