The Easter story unfolding across Marlow
Welcome to our Walk Through Holy Week, we are so glad that you can join us. The walk covers nine stations at different churches in the area. At each Station you will find something from the Easter Story, the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
For Christians, this is the most important event of history and is Good News, as it reminds us of God’s love and forgiveness for each of us. It also points us to hope and the promise of new life – something we all need.
We hope and pray that you will encounter God on this walk, and experience the presence of his love.
The nine stations can be found at the following locations. Click on each of them to reveal part of the story.
Luke 22:47-53 | Jesus is arrested
The journey begins here, in the garden. Having shared the Passover meal, Jesus prays, in agony. He knew what suffering he was to face.
‘Father, if it is possible, let this cup be taken from me,’ he prayed. ‘Yet not my will, but yours be done.’ Luke 22:42
Looking around the seats, can you imagine Jesus’ friends – Peter, James and John – who fell asleep while he was praying. You might want to sit and ask God to forgive you for the times when you have ignored or just not noticed the suffering of others.
Look around the garden. A mixture of plants growing, some are dying, some are in full bloom, others are yet to come. The garden was a scene of several stories and a course of events had been put in place, that could not be reversed.
Luke 23:32-35 | ‘Father, Forgive them’
As Jesus was crucified, he still forgave those who were hurting him.
In times of suffering, many people have felt the pain of despair. Hope has gone. Darkness and death have won. Bitterness, anger and hopelessness seem to be the only path left.
But Jesus showed another way – the way of forgiveness.
He was able to forgive others, to absorb and let go of the suffering he endured. Christians believe that this forgiveness is available to all – for the wrongs we do and the damage others do to us.
Isaiah 53 | Jesus is crucified
Death by crucifixion was a painful and horrible experience. Here, we are reminded of the cross, which was an instrument of torture and of execution.
‘Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, Yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him and afflicted.’ Isaiah 53:4
The footprints lead us to the cross – many people witnessed Jesus’ crucifixion. But few of them understood why he had to die, or what it meant for them.
Isaiah foresaw that Jesus’ death was to bring us forgiveness, healing and hope. If you would like to take a pebble, hold it a while and say sorry to God for your own failures and faults. Then bring that pebble to the cross and leave it there – accept the forgiveness that Jesus offers.
‘We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.’ Isaiah 53:6
Peter was one of Jesus’ closest friends and followers and swore that he would never let him down. But Jesus knew that, although Peter’s heart was in the right place, he wasn’t as strong as he thought himself to be. Jesus warns Peter that, under pressure, peter will say he doesn’t even know Jesus – and all before the cockerel crows. Sure enough, this is exactly what happened. Luke 22:47-53 tells the story.
As you stand in the shadow of the cross, imagine a group of people gathered around the fire. Imagine Peter, scared, denying he even knows Jesus. Imagine the cockerel crowing and Peter realising what he has done.
The Bible tells us that he ‘went out and wept bitterly’ (Luke 22:62).
Perhaps you have let someone down – or perhaps it has happened to you. If you would like to, tie a blue ribbon to the cross, as a reminder of Peter’s tears and your own.
A fresh start for Peter
Peter had let Jesus down, but he was given a whole new start. After Jesus rose from the dead, they had breakfast together one morning, by the Sea of Galilee. Peter had gone back to his old job as a fisherman, convinced that he could never be useful to God again. Look at the boat and the fishing nets and imagine Peter and his friends catching fish, as they had done so many times before they met Jesus. But Jesus meets with him, eats with him, talks to him….and gives him a special job to do: ‘Feed my lambs, take care of my sheep, feed my sheep.’ He knew that Peter would understand now that everyone makes mistakes, but everyone can make a fresh start.
If you feel you want to make a fresh start with God, carefully pick one new leaf from the hedge and put it in your pocket. Let it be a reminder to you of the fresh start God offers all of us.
The two thieves
When Jesus was crucified, two thieves were executed with him, one on either side.
‘One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him, “aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”
But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.’
As you look at the crosses, can you imagine the two criminals, either side of Jesus? Are you like the first one – accusing, insulting, self-serving? Are you like the second one – understanding, humble, fearful? Perhaps a mixture of the two. But the great difference is that one reaches out to Jesus:
‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom’ – and Jesus promises that they will be together in paradise. If you would like to take a nail, it can remind you of the pain, but also the promise of that first Good Friday.
John 19:19-29 | ‘I am thirsty’
As Jesus hung on the cross, he struggled to breathe. His suffering was very great – both emotionally and physically. Above Jesus hangs a sign that proclaims him ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews’ (John 19:19-22). He cries out that he is thirsty (John 19:28). Nearby, the soldiers gamble for his clothes, a single garment, the only thing he owned (John 19:23-24). His mother was watching, filled with grief, but comforted by Jesus, who asks a friend to take care of her (John 19:25-27).
As you walk along the path to the river, you will see reminders of all of these events. When you reach the river, think of Jesus, so thirsty, with only vinegar to drink.
Take some time by the river to pray for all who need clean water, who need love and support, who need a wise king to lead them.
Thank God for the love he has shown us in Jesus.
As you have walked and looked and reflected, you will perhaps have many thoughts and prayers in mind. Bring your prayers to God and hang them on to this tree.
John 19:38-42 and Luke 24:1-8 | ‘It is finished’ ‘He has risen’
Jesus’ body was brought to a burial ground. It didn’t look like this, for the tombs were caves, excavated into the rocky hillside. But it might have felt like this: a garden setting, with some tombs well tended and others a bit overgrown. There would have been flowers and plants growing.
As you stand here, take in all that you can see. Imagine the scene at that first Easter. The cross is empty, Jesus’ body has been laid to rest. It is finished.
Take some time as you walk through the graveyard. Imagine the grief of many funerals that have filled this place – perhaps even some known to you. But it is also a place of peace and rest. A place, even, of hope. The message of Easter is that death is not the end.
Take time to pause. Notice the signs of Spring all around. Think about the signs of new life after death. Reflect using the artwork and Bible verses by each of the benches. Where might God be growing new life in your life? Where do you need to see resurrection?
Spend some time by the river. Watch the water flow and sparkle with life.
Hear again the words of the angel:
‘Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, he has risen’ Luke 24:6
He is risen indeed. Alleluia.