Good Friday is the perfect time to reflect on what Christ endured on our behalf, as depicted by the beautiful Stations of the Cross in the Chapel of Christ Triumphant.

The Way of the Cross

As most Concordians know, the campus we call home once belonged to an order of Catholic nuns. When CUW moved in, some renovations were made to the Chapel to make it more appropriate for Lutheran worship. One thing that was preserved was the beautiful Stations of the Cross display that adorns 14 pillars along the aisles.

Dating in practice as far back as the fourth century, this “Way of the Cross” depicts Christ’s agonizing journey from Pilate’s residence, to the cross on Mount Calvary, to His tomb. Though the particular scenes and number of statues can vary in different traditions, the 14 stations in our Chapel became somewhat standardized by the 1500s.

They are there to remind us, especially during Lent, of the price Christ paid for the forgiveness of our sins. Whether you ponder their meaning in a formal way, proceeding from station to station, or at random times when you’re in the Chapel, it’s a great way to help stay ever thankful.

Scriptures cited below are from the English Standard Version (ESV).

The Pious exercise of the Way of the Cross represents the sorrowful journey that Jesus Christ made with the cross on His shoulders, to die on Calvary for the love of us. We should, therefore, practice this devotion with the greatest possible fervor, placing ourselves in spirit beside our Savior as He walked this sorrowful way.

Alphonsus Liguori

Statue facts

  • Though they’re made to look like stone, the figures are actually carved from wood. The sculptor is unknown, but they are believed to be of Italian origin.
  • The progression begins at the front right of the Chapel (from the congregation’s perspective), proceeds to the back, then continues on the left side, from the back to the front.
  • One of the changes made from the Catholic chapel is the removal of halos from figures other than Jesus.
  • One upgrade made during the most recent Chapel renovation was the addition of lights around the foot of each statue.
  • Station 11 originally depicted two figures nailing Jesus to the cross. Unfortunately, one of the figures recently fell from its platform and broke on the ground.
  • Concordia sometimes offers a Stations of the Cross worship service during Holy Week. This year, a service was held on the evening of Tuesday, April 4.

Sunday’s coming

As difficult as it can sometimes feel, reflecting on the events of Good Friday is meaningful and important. Without Christ’s death, His resurrection could not have happened; without the resurrection, we could not be cleansed by His blood.

As we mourn His suffering and death, remember that it’s only part of the story. We know how it ends: God wins. After all, as we our reminded by the beautiful stained glass above the main doors, there’s a reason we call it The Chapel of Christ Triumphant: He is risen, indeed!

Want in?

At CUW you can see and feel a Christian emphasis from how our professors teach in the classroom to how our athletes play on the field. We instill in our students that living a full Christian life is about more than worship. CUW is a Christian university, not because we’re perfect people, but because we’re forgiven sinners who gather together in Christ. The strength of a Christian community rests on an awareness that people need one another and reach out to one another for support and understanding.