The Stations of the Christ is a transcription of eight visionary experiences that I had during Lent 2004. The backdrop to these experiences is that I am a member of the congregation of the Episcopal Church of Our Saviour, Arlington, Massachusetts. Our rector is the Reverend Linda Fisher-Privitera. The Church is a vibrant community and a place of profound faith and deep inquiry.
During Lent 2004 Karen King, the Winn Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Harvard University, gave seminars at the church for members of the congregation on the Gospel of Mary of Magdala, a second century text that Karen translated from the original Coptic and Greek. The text shows that early Christianity was much more diverse and rich than had been previously known. Importantly the text reveals that women’s role in the early Church and the role of individual spirituality was much stronger and central to early Christianity than later orthodoxy would have us believe.
I offer these visions that make up The Stations of the Christ as a restorative and unifying work on re-integrating the role of the sacred feminine, women and individual spirituality in Christianity and as a reaffirmation of the importance of Jesus Christ, his life, teachings and resurrection.
The inspiration for the name The Stations of the Christ as the title for this work came from Karen when we were having a discussion during our Sunday service about Mel Gibson’s film the Passion of Christ. Karen reminded us that Christianity is about all the facets of Jesus’ life and resurrection combined and that we needed to keep this in mind and not just focus on one piece. So instead of focusing on the Stations of the Cross for Lent I set out to understand what the Stations of all Christ’s life and teaching might be if they were fully embodied in our daily lives. At one level this was a conscious inquiry but at another level I trusted that if I opened myself to connecting with the divine, that is in all of us, within a deeply spiritual, grounded and supportive Christian community then the answers would just come to me or be given to me.
Our rector Linda suggested that I attend a small group meeting during Lent titled a “Lenten Journey with Jesus” that would take place on each Wednesday of Lent. The meetings were organized and led by an Episcopal Divinity School student Carol Brorsen. There were five of us in this small group including Carol. I was the only man in the group.
Carol gave us a reading and writing homework assignment each week. The first assignment was to write a letter to Jesus Christ. I approached this assignment by doing a meditation that I have developed. As I meditated I dictated the vision or experience that came to me in words as best as words allow and then afterwards I transcribed the tape.
Typically a vision will last between twenty and thirty minutes and result in one chapter delivered in a near-continuous flow. I have made only minor edits to clarify some areas where the vision was so intense that even words in the moment failed to convey the experience. The visions were not just experienced as images but were felt in the body. In the first two visions I have added notes to indicate where my consciousness was “felt” at particular points in the vision.
These visions are my experience of attempting to connect with the divine. They are not “The Truth” nor do they posses any great meaning unless they speak to what is meaningful in you.
They are my gift to you. Please pass them on to others if the spirit moves you.
My best wishes to you in your exploration of your own insight and Christianity.
Jamie Coats Arlington, Massachusetts, USA Lent 2004