"But life does not end with the cross of Christ."

Author Heelan has created a highly focused collection that gives Christians a new choice in worship—one based around the old and long-held tradition of fourteen stations of the cross, or Via Crucis. The time-honored stations are short recitations of events leading to the crucifixion of Jesus, ending with his death. Heelan asserts that this tradition has the addition of the stations, or meditations, on his resurrection and "the promise of what is to come"—the hope for all Christians inherent in that world-changing event.

It is with this in mind that he has constructed fourteen new stations that begin where the old ones end. These are concentrated on a variety of key events: the women's visit to Christ's empty tomb, their rush to tell the others disciples, Peter's visit to the tomb, Jesus's appearance to Mary Magdalene, the walk to Emmaus, Jesus's appearance to all disciples, his proof of identity to doubting Thomas, his appearance by the Sea of Galilee, a shared meal with his followers, special orders for Peter, instructions to all to spread his word, his marvelous ascension and blessings of the Holy Spirit, and the promise of his return at the end times.

Heelan has based these short but powerful messages on relevant passages of scripture while sensitively modernizing biblical language in creating the stations to appeal to current Christian ways of approaching the Bible in its many new translations. Each of Heelan's well-conceived stations begins with a "V" for verse and an "R" for response, adapting the custom of groups echoing the words of a preacher or priest. In the opening station, the verse is "Alleluia! Christ is risen!" with the response, "The Lord is risen indeed, alleluia!" The text that follows is, in most instances, a gentle restatement of the original biblical story. Each station is accompanied by a meditation in the form of a prayer inspired by the story portion. The concluding station quotes from Luke, describing an apocalyptic scenario that will take place in some future time, heralding the return of the Son of Man. Heelan's composition for meditation then invites the worshipper to "eagerly anticipate" the second coming of Christ, thus ending the stations on a highly hopeful note.

Heelan, a dedicated educator, feels that these stations should be performed at Easter to celebrate the return of Jesus following his crucifixion, just as the Via Crucis meditation ritual occurs during Lent to give a reminder of the savior's mystical suffering and death. The author beautifully sets the stage for the stations with a prefatory hymn—"Alleluia! Alleluia! Let the Holy Anthem Rise"—and concludes with another, "Jesus is Risen," set in the music composed in 1623. The stations are accompanied by vintage illustrations from traditional artwork and some more current sources, all in black and white, giving the book as a whole a solidly historical feel. But it is the overarching intent of this work that gives it gravitas. With the resurrection stations, Heelan shows his gift of spiritual innovation, projecting a worship modality that could become, like its predecessor, ageless.

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