Margaret Adams Parker & Katherine Sonderegger
Eerdmans, 128 pages
Once considered only for Roman Catholics (and a certain kind at that), many other Christians are taking up the ancient practice of praying the Stations of the Cross. In her memoir, “Accidental Saints,” Nadia Bolz-Weber described the practice at the House of Saints and Sinners. Those concerned about social justice and the way of the Jesus’ suffering have walked their neighborhood praying the stations of the cross. Both Daniel Berrigan and Henri Nouwen joined with artists to draw a clear line from Jesus’ suffering to our lives as disciples.
Now we have this extraordinary guide to such practice. This combination of art and theology opens the way of understanding – and indeed experiencing – the cross and resurrection of Jesus at the heart of the gospel. Both Parker and Sonderegger bring theological depth and deep attention to Scripture to this work. That is what makes it so valuable as a guide to prayer and practice. They argue that by paying close attention to Jesus’ death, “we may receive this gracious exchange as well: entering into Christ’s sorrows may open our minds and hearts to the sufferings of those around us.” In addition to introductory essays on the purpose and history of praying the stations, there are full services for each one with Scripture and prayers composed by Sonderegger and accompanied by Parker’s drawings.
One can use this guide for a congregation, a small group of pilgrims or, of course, alone. The authors make it clear that while the stations focus on the suffering of Jesus, the crucifixion is never without the good news of the resurrection. Each of the 14 stations includes a brief sermon by Sonderegger, in addition to an afterword on preaching. To add even more value is the list of recommendations for further study in art, Scripture and theological reflections. This is a stunning book that will stand for generations.