The Morningstar team invites you on a journey during the coming Lenten Season. Lent has become a time when we, as Christ-followers, are given the opportunity to consider that there is something that we can do during this 40 days prior to the Resurrection. When you sign up, you are engaging with daily devotional challenges written by individuals who support Morningstar’s mission. You can further engage in three distinct ways, pray, fast, give.
Stations of the Cross
March 9 – April 9
Support the ministry of Morningstar Children’s Home through your financial gift.
Day of Service
March 25th, 2023
This is an opportunity to sacrifice one Saturday morning, March 25, to help beautify the Children’s Home campus. Lunch provided. For details and sign up, email Lindsey at firstname.lastname@example.org
It takes a lot of everything to create home and healing for so many foster children. We invite you to join others by making a sacrifice and fast during the Lenten Season of an amount that will help Morningstar support the needs of the Children. We ask that you pray about an amount that you can commit to give every day during the 40 days of Lent that will represent a generous sacrifice that would be meaningful to remind you of the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross and meaningful to the Children of Morningstar for their health and well-being.
Come experience Lent through the Stations of the Cross. Thirteen of the Stations of the Cross will be positioned at the entrance of Morningstar Children’s Home from March 9 to April 9, and an open invitation is extended for individuals and groups to come and experience the actual walk through these Stations. Individual pieces of the artwork will be displayed, and the words and prayers provided by the Reverend Stephanie Smith, will accompany each piece of artwork to encourage individual commitment to a time of thought and prayer for your own Lenten Journey following the footsteps of Jesus Himself.
Jen Norton is a contemporary Catholic artist and award-wining painter whose work has appeared on the cover of books included Word by Word and The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion. She was an art director at CKS Partners from 1989 to 1998, did freelance design, and was an exhibiting artist and illustrator until 2012, when she began focusing exclusively on her artwork. Ms. Norton has also written a book entitled Surrender All, An Illuminated Journal Retreat through the Stations of the Cross, for those interested in further experience in the Stations of the Cross through her artwork and written word. The book can be order from Ave Marie Press at
Reverend Stephanie Smith is the Associate Pastor at Statesboro First United Methodist Church in Statesboro, Georgia. A devoted graduate of Georgia Southern University, Rev. Stephanie has formerly held positions in the United Methodist Conference at Pittman Park United Methodist Church also in Statesboro. Her gift of writing and speaking is evidenced in the scriptures chosen, words of challenge, and the prayers included with the Stations of the Cross artwork of Ms. Norton, and together, these phenomenal women have truly brought the Lenten Journey to a realistic experience. Rev. Stephanie is married to a devotional writer, the Reverend Dr. Johnathan Smith and they have two adorable daughters, Lily Grace and Addie.
Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified.” And he said, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified.” So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” Matthew 27: 22-24 RSV
Take a moment to wash your hands and think of a time when you did not want to get involved and washed your hands of the responsibility of standing up for someone innocent.
Lord, we are so easily influenced by the shouting of others. It is easier to just go along with the crowd. Forgive us for the times we have washed our hands of the responsibility of standing up for the truth. Remind us that when we stand for the truth, we stand for you. Give us the courage to enter these stations and accept our responsibility for what happened to you on the Cross.
And he called to him the multitude with his disciples, and said
to them, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? For what can a man give in return for his life? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of man also be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Mark 8: 34-38 RSV
Take a moment to get a cross that you will carry with you through each of the stations. Think of the cross you are called to carry in your life.
Lord, the call of discipleship is clear; it requires us to take up
our cross and follow You. Our cross can feel really heavy at times and if we are honest, we would rather leave it behind. Help us not just endure our crosses, but to embrace them as the vehicle that carries us to eternal life. We unite our crosses to yours.
Come to me, all you are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Take a moment to kneel and reflect that at the end of an agonizing night when Jesus was flogged, made to wear a crown of thorns, taunted and abandoned by all, he suffered in his soul and in his body. He yields under the weight of the cross. He finds the strength to pick himself up in his overwhelming will to save us. Everyone falls on the wayside and loses heart before life’s difficulties. May we arise with the strength of God to serve our neighbor.
As we walk this way together, Lord, teach me not to complain when I am having trouble, nor to give up when my tasks seem hard. Help me to get up and keep walking the path that is marked out for me.
Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “This boy is assigned to be the cause of the falling and rising of many in Israel and to be a sign that generates opposition so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your innermost being too.”
Luke 2: 34-35 RSV
Carrying the cross through the crowd, Jesus finds a familiar face, His Mother’s. Mary loved her Son very much and it must have been difficult for her to watch Him suffer. Take a moment to draw a heart on your cross. Then take a moment to pray for your earthly parents or caregivers.
Lord, You have given us those that care for us as Mary so faithfully cared for You. Our caregivers are people who share a special connection with us. When their children suffer, they suffer too. Mary’s heart was pierced as Your heart was pierced. She was faithful to the end. Remind us that your love continues to walk with us along the way and never ceases interceding for us.
And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus.
Luke 23: 26 RSV
Take a moment to think of someone in your life that is carrying a heavy cross right now. Write their name on the back of your cross and say a prayer for them. If you feel called, send them a text to tell them you are praying for them and maybe ask how you can better support them in this time.
Lord, crosses are heavy, and we struggle to carry them alone. If You needed help, how much more will we? Give us the courage to accept help and to reach out in times of need. We were not made to walk this journey alone. Remind us of the blessing it is to be a Simon for someone in need and help us be grateful for the Simons in our lives.
Then those who are righteous will reply to him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? When did we see you as a stranger and welcome you, or naked and give you clothes to wear? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ “Then the king will reply to them, ‘I assure you that when you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me.
God wants to reveal himself to us every day in our life. It begins with simply giving God permission: permission to reveal himself, permission to transform us into who were created to be. God wants to imprint his face on us so that our life will portray him, just as Veronica’s veil portrays Jesus. How has God been challenging you to be bold for him?
Almighty and ever-loving God, we feel your love and understanding in the consolation and support we receive from one another. Give us the courage and dedication to sacrifice and suffer with those who are in need. Help me to see the one small thing I can do for you, and help me to do it before the
It was certainly our sickness that he carried and our sufferings that he bore, but we thought him afflicted, struck down by God and tormented. He was pierced because of our rebellions and crushed because of our crimes. He bore the punishment that made us whole; by his wounds, we are healed. Like sheep we had all wandered away, each going its own way, but the Lord let fall on him all our crimes.
Take the weight before you and hold it in your hands. Feel the poundage in your arms. Jesus stands alone under the weight of the cross. Jesus falls a second time on the rough stones and dirt. The weight of the cross feels oppressive. Jesus gathers his inner strength and gets back up so he can continue his journey. As you place the weight back on the ground, listen to the voice of Jesus speaking to you “take up your cross and follow me.”
Lord, give me the grace to see there is no shame in falling because that is the way learning comes. Help me to understand that falling is not the same as failing. Teach me how to get up again with dignity and continue in your way.
A huge crowd of people followed Jesus, including women, who were mourning and wailing for him. Jesus turned to the women and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t cry for me. Rather, cry for yourselves and your children.
As we look to Christ making his way towards his Crucifixion, we see that in his most difficult suffering, he still tries to console and offer comfort to others. He speaks to mothers, who by definition will put their children before their own. Christ came to serve the world. He humbled Himself to the point of death. He puts our very lives before his own. His compassion is endless. And even in his worst suffering, he never stops giving himself.
Merciful Lord, help me to care more about others than myself. To put their needs before mine. Help me to remember that others have problems too. Help me to respond to them, even when I’m busy or preoccupied with my own problems.
Lord, please save us! Lord, please let us succeed! The one who enters in the Lord’s name is blessed; we bless all of you from the Lord’s house. The Lord is God! He has shined a light on us! So lead the festival offering with ropes all the way to the horns of the altar. You are my God—I will give thanks to you! You are my God—I will lift you up high!
When were you the weakest, the point of giving up, the end of your rope? When did you feel as though you had nothing left? We cross over the halfway point on this journey to the cross and know this is not the end for Jesus. Even though we may be tired, worn out, or exhausted, Jesus can barely walk now. It takes all of his strength to hold up the heavy cross. His feet begin to drag and then his knees give out, and he falls to the ground again. Some people in the crowd wonder if he can stand up once more. Jesus does not complain or give in to despair when the road gets hard. Once more he stands up to finish his journey.
Lord, please help me to follow your example and not give up because I know you will always be there to help me carry my cross. Grant me the humility and perseverance to continue falling and rising until I am safely home with you.
And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull), they offered him wine to drink, mingled with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots; then they sat down and kept watch over him there.
Matthew 27: 33-36 RSV
The soldiers stripped Jesus of His clothes and made Him stand in front of the crowd humiliated and exhausted. He had nothing left, absolutely nothing. We all know what it feels like to be embarrassed and humiliated by others, but we are known by a God who created us in His own image. Take a moment and say one positive thing about each member in your family. This is how our God sees us.
Lord, everything was taken from you, including your final ounce of dignity, your clothes. Even then, the one thing that no one could take from you is your relationship with the Father. We cling to so many things other than you and even take from others to make our lives more comfortable. Give us your heart and inspire us to be willing to let everything go, trusting that what is most important can never be taken away.
And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus the King of the Jews.” Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.
Matthew 27: 37-42 RSV
The soldiers hammered nails into Jesus’ hands and feet and then they lifted the cross and He hung there in so much pain. Draw three nail marks on your cross in the places Jesus was nailed to the cross and pray together the prayer that Jesus taught us, The Lord’s Prayer.
Lord, we never wanted to hurt You, but right now we are faced with the pain we have inflicted on you. You didn’t try to escape or resist. You took our sin upon Yourself and bore the stripes that make us whole. Move us to hate our sin and to love you more.
Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfil the scripture), “I thirst.” A bowl full of vinegar stood there; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished”; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
John 19: 28-30 RSV
When Jesus took His last breath, the sky grew dark and the ground around Him began to shake. The soldiers and crowd realized in that moment that Jesus was innocent. Place each of your paper crosses across the cross and pause for a moment of silent prayer.
Lord, You did this for us. You perfectly surrendered Yourself to the will of the Father, because we could not. Only in and through You can we be saved. Help us to unite our crosses to Yours and trust in the promise that if we die with You, we will rise with You.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For while we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
II Corinthians 4: 7-11 RSV
Take a moment to reflect on the image. Hold the death of Jesus in your heart. Look upon His face and the fact of those who stood by until His death. They could not let Jesus die alone.
Lord, those who stayed until the end risked it all and were faithful. They did not abandon You like the others for they could not let You die alone. May we who are constantly being given up to death for Your sake be a living sign of Your love to the world. May we risk it all for You and be found faithful to the end.