The Practice of Keeping Vigil

“Who can stay awake in this night of God? Who will not be as if paralyzed by it? Christ’s struggle was with God. This was his real agony. He overcame it through his self-surrender. That was his victory, and our hope.”  –Jurgen Moltmann

It is a custom of the Christian church to keep vigil with Christ at different times and in different ways throughout the three holiest days of the Church year–Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday.  During these days, we surrender ourselves completely to being with Christ in the depths of his passion on our behalf.

One of the places from which we draw this custom is Jesus’ request to the disciples to be near him and keep watch while he prayed and agonized in the Garden of Gethsemane. Of course, they were unable to fulfill Jesus’ request because they kept falling asleep; however, even though they struggled to stay awake to the pain of Jesus’ agony, the invitation was there for them, as it is for us today.

We also know that there were those few–including Mary Magdalene, Jesus’ mother Mary, and John–who stayed near the cross and kept watch as Jesus suffered and died.  Despite the horror of what was taking place, they kept company with him until the very end.

How will you keep vigil? 

Walking and praying through the stations of the cross is one way we can keep vigil with Christ during these holy days. Traditionally, there are fourteen Stations of the Cross—most of them taken directly from Scripture, along with a few that have been passed down in Christian tradition. Will you consider keeping vigil with Christ during Holy Week? Let us pray…

Almighty God, whose most dear Son
went not up to joy but first he suffered pain,
and entered not into glory before he was crucified:
Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross,
may find it none other than the way of life and peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Book of Common Prayer

“Growing up, I usually ‘jumped straight to Easter,’ and now I’m coming to value the space that Good Friday brings. Remembering the darkness the original disciples faced… not knowing when the darkness would end… yet waiting together until the Lord stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you…’ Many thanks for the encouragement to enter this space.” – B Munger

Practice Keeping Vigil…

Join us on Good Friday for a VIRTUAL Stations of the Cross Prayer Service led by Ruth Haley Barton

Friday, April 15 at 12pm Central Standard Time.
(A recording will be available.)

Ruth Haley Barton and the Transforming Center team will lead this prayer service and provide guidance as we walk through each station of the cross.

Register by purchasing our Stations of the Cross Prayer Guide

An Invitation to Walk With ChristThis 32-page beautifully produced prayer guide by Ruth Haley Barton has been used for many years in our Good Friday service and will help you fully participate in our online service. We will send Zoom information to everyone who purchases book before April 1.

Purchase book and your are registered for event

We recognize that international friends might want to participate, but shipping the resource is cost prohibitive. If you make a gift of any size we will send you the prayer service electronically and provide the zoom information for you to view the service.

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Ruth Haley Barton

Ruth (Doctor of Divinity, Northern Seminary) is founder and chief essence officer of the Transforming Center. A teacher, seasoned spiritual director (Shalem Institute), and retreat leader, Ruth is the author of numerous books and resources on the spiritual life including Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership, Sacred Rhythms, Life Together in Christ, Pursuing God’s Will Together, Invitation to Solitude and Silence, Invitation to Retreat, and Embracing Rhythms of Work and Rest.
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Since my cancer diagnosis just over 1 year ago, I’m learning, and experiencing, that suffering and death, just one side of of the coin that is my life. But the other side has joy, and hope. In any given moment on side is face up. But’s it the same coin! I also know that one day, both sides will shine brighter than sun.

I’ve been reflecting on inheritance and favor…coming from NOT to! This service was awesomeeee. The ‘silence’ and the deep revelation ‘teacher along the way!’

My bride and I have been walking thru this every Lent for probably 10 yrs… What a rhythm. We NOW WAIT! Thanks for your obedience to follow and create space for this resting in His Love practice. I believe we can take others to where we haven’t gone and the depth and breadth of your work (thru grace) is powerful… 🙏🏼 🎁

Thank you for this heartfelt sharing. So glad it was meaningful!

I’ve never gone through the stations of the cross before. Such a powerful experience.

Things that came up for me:
-In silence I hear Ben hammering the flagstone in the backyard. How similar it must have sounded as they hammered stakes into Jesus’ ankles and wrists…

-Agony for Jesus’ mother
-Song by Stevie Wonder, “Isn’t she lovely”

-My true identity is rooted in Christ, so I have nothing lose.

-Literally, nothing I could have done. He HAD to do it all.

-Get behind me, Satan.
I am yours, Lord. All of me.

Last edited 2 years ago by Krysta

Thank you.

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