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…
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
This 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.
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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