Saturday, March 08, 2008

Cross-less Stations

...from the Episcopal Church. By Carl Olson in Insight Scoop
The stations, reports Christianity Today, are called "Stations of the Millennium Development Goals", and the "liturgy" consists of the following "stations":
Set up for the Liturgy
• Designate eight stations around your church.
• For each station, have a poster-size paper listing one of the eight MDGs:
MDG 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
MDG 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education for Children
MDG 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
MDG 4: Reduce Child Mortality
MDG 5: Improve Maternal Health
MDG 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and Other Diseases
MDG 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability
MDG 8: Create a Global Partnership for Development
There is, in fact, only one reference to a cross:
Station 5: Have a poster-size piece of paper for each pilgrim and a thick black permanent marker. Ask each pilgrim to write the first-name only of every woman they know who had a baby in the past year. When the list is complete, draw a black cross next to the name of every 16th woman. Explain that this represents the plight of women in sub-Saharan Africa, where one in 16 pregnant women die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth each day.
Not surprisingly, some Anglicans are less than happy with the political proje—er, "liturgy." (Note to self, file this story next to the one about striving to have a smaller "carbon footprint" during Lent.)

Someone, I'm guessing, will read this and say, "Hey, mean person, what do you have against helping poor people and fighting disease in Third World countries?" The short answer is, "Absolutely nothing at all." But liturgy and devotions such as Stations of the Cross should never be turned into social projects or political forums; they are meant to transform us by bringing us into closer communion with Jesus Christ. Then we are to go into the world and apply our love of God and our knowledge of man in doing the vital work of helping the poor, fighting disease, and so forth.

When liturgy and devotion become the servants of political activism, it is inevitable that people will—logically, it should be noted—wonder, "Why bother doing this when I can simply participate in this or that social project or political movement." And then they leave Christianity behind, thinking it has little or nothing to offer the world that cannot be found many times over in secular movements.


Anonymous said...


Argent said...

Hi, Q!

Yes, looks like they've slid even lower down the slope. I am happy to have gotten out....but not without scars. Thanfully, a few ad orientem Masses (both Old and New Masses) have cleansed my memory pretty well.