Community Cross Walk encourages holiday reflection

REED CITY — The weather failed to dampen the spirits of those taking part in the annual Good Friday Community Cross Walk.

For some, it was a first. For many, it was an experience they want to experience again and again.

The people gathered to begin the journey at the Depot in downtown Reed City, walking then a circuitous route that led them to various stations of the cross, stopping for Bible readings, sometimes song, always prayer.

Various pastors of many churches shared the message of Good Friday, and many people from the various churches helped to carry the cross from one location to the next.

After remarks at the very beginning by Pastor Chris DeMott of the Reed City Church of the Nazarene, who is also the president of the Ministerial Association, the crowd joined in reciting the Lord’s Prayer.

Readings were from Luke 22:39-46 (Jesus in the Garden), and Luke 22:47-53 (The betrayal of Jesus).

St. Philip and St. Anne Catholic church members led the crowd from the Depot following the singing of The Old Rugged Cross, carrying the cross along Chestnut to Higbee, then west to the Congregational Church.

There, the message focused on Jesus coming before the religious authorities, and the readings were Luke 22:66-71 (Jesus before the council) and Mark 14:66-72 (Peter denies Christ).

The Reed City United Methodist Church carried the cross from that location across the street and to the top of the courthouse steps where one man stood alone with that cross.

That station focused on Jesus coming before the civil authorities, with readings from Mark 15:1-5 (Jesus before Pilate), and Matthew 27:27-30 (The soldiers mocked Jesus).

The fourth station was at the corner of Higbee and Slosson, the cross carried there by members of Hersey United Methodist Church. The focus was on the journey with the cross, with the readings from Matthew 27:31-32 (Man compelled to carry the cross) and Luke 23:27-31 (Women weep along the way).

From there the cross was carried to the fifth station at Higbee and Slosson by members of St. Paul Lutheran Church, where the scripture readings came from Matthew 27:33-37 (Jesus hung on a cross), Luke 23:32-38 (Jesus mocked on the cross), and Luke 23:39-43 (the thief repents).

The crowd joined in singing a verse from a song which included the words, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” Additional verses from that hymn were sung at the following two stations as well.

Next, the cross made its way up Lincoln Street, on the shoulders of members of Hersey Congregational Church, stopping at Norman Elementary School. Scripture focus came from John 19:25-27 (Women at the Cross), and Matthew 27:45-54 (Jesus dies).

The long journey then led up a steady incline and on into Woodland Cemetery. The last part of the Community Cross Walk found members from the Reed City Church of the Nazarene carrying the cross the remainder of the way.

The focus verses included John 19:31-37 (Jesus side is pierced) and John 19:38-42 (Jesus laid in the tomb).

For many, the Community Cross Walk was a challenge, physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally. Some used canes, others wheelchairs, some were carried. Still others followed in vehicles. At the end of the walk, many accepted gratefully rides back downtown to where they left vehicles, perhaps family members or friends, or others dropped out along the way.

But the general sharing by many was that “this was a good thing,” or that “It made it real. It was hard for me to walk, but I can’t imagine what it was like for Jesus.”

Some shared feelings of sadness, still others of renewed hope. For all, it was a journey, and for many one they plan to take again.