Stations of the Cross

In 2019, artist Ross Boone created twelve Stations of the Cross.

Included for each image is the scripture, a short prayer, and the artist's explanation of his work.  

We pray this brings you a new way of experiencing Holy Week.

Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane

Matthew 26: 36-41

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane. He said to the disciples, “Stay here while I go and pray over there.” When he took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, he began to feel sad and anxious. Then he said to them, “I’m very sad. It’s as if I’m dying. Stay here and keep alert with me.” Then he went a short distance farther and fell on his face and prayed, “My Father, if it’s possible, take this cup of suffering away from me. However—not what I want but what you want.” He came back to the disciples and found them sleeping. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you stay alert one hour with me? Stay alert and pray so that you won’t give in to temptation. The spirit is eager, but the flesh is weak.”

Lord, grant us your strength and wisdom, that we may seek to follow your will in all things.

In this depiction of Jesus in Gethsemane I showed him on hands and knees, with sweat drops of blood around him. I showed his friends falling asleep on him. We see references to the garden of Eden in this garden of Gethsemane, as we see the snake coming near Jesus. Where the first man failed under temptation in Eden, bringing their own death, Jesus would deny temptation, saying not my will but yours, even to his own death. In the trees we also see the cup from the last supper he had just shared with his friends. We see references to other moments of feeling deserted by friends and needing to rely on faith: Daniel and the lion's den, and Joseph thrown in a pit by his brothers. Also look for hands of God spread over him, like the wings of a hen protecting her young. We have started this series with the main color being blue. We will move more towards red, to depict the mounting pain and violence against him.

Judas Betrays Jesus

Mark 14: 43-46

Suddenly, while Jesus was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, came with a mob carrying swords and clubs. They had been sent by the chief priests, legal experts, and elders. 44 His betrayer had given them a sign: “Arrest the man I kiss, and take him away under guard.”As soon as he got there, Judas said to Jesus, “Rabbi!” Then he kissed him. Then they came and grabbed Jesus and arrested him.

Lord, grant us the courage of our convictions that our lives may faithfully reflect that good news you bring.

The central image in this Mandala is the lips that betrayed Jesus. But they are made up of thorny vines and the words Judas uttered. Like in many of these mandalas the trinity sign is in the middle signifying that despite all the suffering and betrayal, the god-head is still central and present to everything in this world. We see thirty pieces of silver surrounding the interaction of Judas betraying Jesus with a kiss, and the coins are dripping with blood. We can see dark soldiers waiting in the wings to take Jesus. We can also see one of the disciples peering from behind a tree. In the middle of the tree is the noose, foreshadowing the terrible demise Judas chose for himself. It turns into a rose, seemingly desirable like his actions first seemed, but in reality it is blood red in color, and sharp with thorns, like the regret he experiences. Near the perimeter we see someone being stabbed in the back, and we see the bread being broken and blood shed for the last supper, in which Jesus said, the one who dips his hand in the cup with me will betray me (signifying Judas). But immediately after that he describes how this bread and blood can rescue every single one of them from the dark. A dove shot through the heart, with a broken wing just below the dipped communion bread symbolizes Jesus' pure body being broken and about to pour onto the spears of the ones who took him.

Jesus Is Condemned by the Sanhedrin

Luke 22:66-71  

As morning came, the elders of the people, both chief priests and legal experts, came together, and Jesus was brought before their council. They said, “If you are the Christ, tell us!” He answered, “If I tell you, you won’t believe. And if I ask you a question, you won’t answer. But from now on, the Human One will be seated on the right side of the power of God.” They all said, “Are you God’s Son, then?” He replied, “You say that I am.” Then they said, “Why do we need further testimony? We’ve heard it from his own lips.”

Lord, grant us your sense of righteousness that we may never cease to work to bring about the justice of the kingdom that you promised.

With this mandala I wanted to capture the vicious atmosphere Jesus was placed under. Large canine teeth and bloody viper mouths are suggested to show a more tangible expression of the hearts of those accusing Jesus. Everything is symmetric radially except for Jesus' face at the middle.

Jesus Is Denied By Peter

Matthew 26:69-75  

Meanwhile, Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant woman came and said to him, “You were also with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it in front of all of them, saying, “I don’t know what you are talking about.” When he went over to the gate, another woman saw him and said to those who were there, “This man was with Jesus, the man from Nazareth.” With a solemn pledge, he denied it again, saying, “I don’t know the man.” A short time later those standing there came and said to Peter, “You must be one of them. The way you talk gives you away.” Then he cursed and swore, “I don’t know the man!” At that very moment the rooster crowed. Peter remembered Jesus’ words, “Before the rooster crows you will deny me three times.”And Peter went out and cried uncontrollably.

Lord, grant us the gift of honesty that we may not fear to speak the truth even when difficult.

The eyes of the horrified Peter are also the eyes of the rooster that convicts Peter of his denial. And Jesus looks at him, sadly from the center. We can see Peter denying Jesus to the three people who asked Peter if he knew him. We can see his silhouette by the fire where Jesus looked at him, the moment the rooster crowed.

Jesus Is Scourged and Crowned With Thorns

John 19:1-3

Then Pilate had Jesus taken and whipped. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and dressed him in a purple robe. Over and over they went up to him and said, “Greetings, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.

Lord, grant us patience in times of suffering that we may offer our lives as a sacrifice of praise.

The tearing whip that scourged Jesus and the crown of thorns that gouged him surround Jesus and his attackers. Teeth have been knocked out and a snake whispers anger and hate in his ear. Like a lamb at the mercy of wolves, he does not fight back. The feeling of being hated and beaten unfairly when no one is there to stop it reminded me of a certain boy tied to a fencepost and beaten more recently in a remote area of the United States.

Jesus and Simon Bear The Cross

Mark 15: 20-22

When they finished mocking him, they stripped him of the purple robe and put his own clothes back on him. Then they led him out to crucify him. Simon, a man from Cyrene, Alexander and Rufus’ father, was coming in from the countryside. They forced him to carry his cross. They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha, which means Skull Place.

Lord, grant us strength of purpose that we may faithfully bear our crosses each day.

When imagining the moment Simon stooped to help Jesus lift the cross, I was struck by the moment that might have happened when Simon's fingers slipped between the red, bloodsoiled fingers of this rumored savior, only a few hours before he would die. You can see the face of Simon as he approaches the bood-red face of Jesus. And you can see the cross over Jesus' shoulder. You can also see the faces of accusers, mockers, and soldiers looking on from behind them. I wanted to capture the awkward normalcy of the moment in the words, as Simon stumbles over how to position himself to help.

Jesus Is Crucified

Luke 23:33-34

When they arrived at the place called The Skull, they crucified him, along with the criminals, one on his right and the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.” They drew lots as a way of dividing up his clothing.

Lord, grant us merciful hearts that we may bring your reconciliation and forgiveness to all.

This mandala shows Jesus hanging from nails in wood boards meant to resemble the adorned sides of church pews. Pulling down on his legs is an lavishly adorned intricate silver cross that one might wear if wanting to show their wealth while attesting to their religiosity. It was this religiosity that sent Jesus to this death on the hill of the skull. We also see cracks in the skulls, foreshadowing the earthquake about the happen as he dies.

Jesus Promises The Kingdom to the Good Thief

Luke 23:39-43

One of the criminals hanging next to Jesus insulted him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” Responding, the other criminal spoke harshly to him, “Don’t you fear God, seeing that you’ve also been sentenced to die? We are rightly condemned, for we are receiving the appropriate sentence for what we did. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus replied, “I assure you that today you will be with me in paradise.”

Lord, grant us perseverance that we may never stop seeking you.

Here I have symbolically depicted the friendship given by Jesus to the good thief. But I've also depicted the distance between the unrepentant thief and Jesus. The hand gestures in each personage are important. The unrepentant thief points at them in condescension and judgement. The good thief has locked hands with Jesus. Even though this was physically impossible while nailed to separate crosses, this represents the bond I imagine his heart felt when Jesus offered him forgiveness and friendship. The good thief's other hand is covering his nakedness to portray the extreme shame I imagine he felt. And yet in that shame, Jesus, the purest among them still accepts him. We see Jesus' other hand, even in his moment of deepest betrayal and pain, still offering forgiveness. Underneath the olive leaf of forgiveness, we see the hidden shape of a purifying dove covering a slew of condemning faces. Jesus offers these people, even while they mock and accuse him, forgiveness, for he says they know not what they do. I wanted to draw Jesus and the good thief in disarray because at this moment so many unsettling moments had accrued to get them here. You may also see the large hand of God in red even still reaching out to the city of Jesus' people that condemned him.

Jesus Dies on the Cross

Luke 23:44-46  

It was now about noon, and darkness covered the whole earth until about three o’clock, while the sun stopped shining. Then the curtain in the sanctuary tore down the middle. Crying out in a loud voice, Jesus said, “Father, into your hands I entrust my life.” After he said this, he breathed for the last time.

Lord, grant us trust in you that when our time on earth is ended our spirits may come to you without delay.

In this moment we learn that Jesus breathed his last breath and the curtain in the temple ripped from top to bottom. I wanted to show those in one moment: as Jesus' spirit (portrayed by a dove) escapes his lungs, his body is being ripped open in many ways (lashes, spear), releasing his spirit, like the curtains ripped, releasing God's spirit now upon everyone who would desire it. There was no longer a physical barrier between God and man. Jesus was now in a form he could be present with all people. We also learn that this happened between certain hours, as depicted by the roman numeral clock. And this overlays on top of an image of the lunar eclipse that happened concurrently. In the corona of this eclipse we can see a few images. They show the evolution of what is happening symbolically. Near the bottom we see bones decaying in the ground. A little further up we see a buried coffin. Above that we see seeds buried, like a coffin is, in the ground. However, we see these seeds sprouting and sneaking out of the ground. Above that we see seeds that are released throughout the world, only because the buried seeds first died in the ground, and grew into full plants that could then spread their seeds, like Jesus was spiritually doing by dying. And at the very top we see flowers in bloom, with a coffin that has been cracked opened, the contents inside re-enlivened and ready to step out .

Jesus is Placed in the Tomb

Matthew 27:57-60

That evening a man named Joseph came. He was a rich man from Arimathea who had become a disciple of Jesus. He came to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Pilate gave him permission to take it. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had carved out of the rock. After he rolled a large stone at the door of the tomb, he went away.

Lord, grant us your compassion that we may always provide for those in need.

You may have noticed how the first mandala was 95% blue, and we have moved towards the final mandalas being 95% red, showing the process became more violent, harder, and bloodier. However, someone pointed out to me that despite the violence, hope was on the verge of being released as well. And so, I started adding more and more white battling the encroaching heaviness of black. And this final mandala is meant to be full of white and light. I wanted one that depicted peace. It is calm. No more violence. It was finished. The human heart has been buried, and wrapped in a cloth, like Jesus was. But you can see the vast garden of flowers blooming on the other side of this orb, just beyond the horizon we can see over, showing that though the body is buried, it is only the first step in a world that is about to filled with a whole new type of beauty, so much bigger than the seed ever was, and could reach so much farther than the seed ever could before it died. As lent nears its end, we may see flowers beginning to bloom all around us. The hard is coming to a close. Spring is coming. Life will come back in ways larger than we had imagined it before.