I am just about dead today after participating in the Walk to the Cross. It was grueling but I’m so glad I did it. About 2000 people turned out for it this year. Our gorgeous summer-like weather had a lot to do with such great participation. This was my first year to walk up the mountain. I’ve gone the easy route before, traveling to the top in a truck.
In the comments to my Good Friday post, Beverly asked, “What was step 1? Our church doesn’t do anything like that, but I was so moved by your descriptions of the walk up the mountain, that I’d like to try to introduce this to our church.”
The Boise Vineyard has been doing the Journey of the Cross for about 7 or 8 years. Here are the basics:
1) Triumphal Entry. On Palm Sunday, Jesus the Messiah enters the church accompanied by dancers and singers and great celebration. (In past years, he has ridden in on a donkey, but the donkey was absent this year.)
2) The Passover Seder. On Thursday, we gather together for a taste of the traditional Jewish Seder–the meal that Jesus shared with his disciples before he was betrayed at Gethsemane. This is an interactive event with samples of traditional Jewish foods and Hebrew readings. Simeon, healed of leprosy by Jesus, leads this meal with his friends and family.
3) Walk to the Cross. On Friday, we gather on the grounds of the old Idaho Penitentiary at the foot of the mountains and beneath the shadow of Table Rock (where a giant lighted cross stands). First we hear from various people who knew Jesus (the woman caught in adultery, the Centurion whose servant was healed, the woman healed of the issue of blood, the blind man who regained his sight, etc.). Also present are the Pharisees, mocking those who declare Jesus is the Messiah. Then the crowd moves inside the prison walls where we hear from the Apostle John and Pontius Pilat. Finally, we climb the mountain to Table Rock, where as the sun sets, the soldiers raise the cross and Simeon wonders aloud why Jesus could heal so many and yet He did not save Himself. We also place Redemption cards in boxes that will be burned on Sunday. We write on those cards whatever we want to give to Jesus — our sins, our habits, our hang-ups, our hurts.
4) On Saturday, the church gathers together to watch The Passion of the Christ.
5) Sunrise Service on Easter morning. As the sun rises over the Boise Vineyard campus, we discover that the tomb is empty. (A tomb has been constructed there.) Then a bonfire is lit to consume our symbols of sin (the boxes holding the redemption cards).
6) The church eats together as a family, celebrating the resurrection of our Lord (this is in our church’s gymnasium).
7) Celebration of the Risen Christ. Three celebration services follow breakfast, proclaiming that the work is done and that Jesus is the true Savior and Messiah who was promised.
Wishing all of my readers a glorious and joyous Resurrection Sunday!
In the grip of His grace,
Photos of the Walk to the Cross from top, left to right (click on photos to see full version): Adulterous woman; Pilat after the trial; beginning the climb (see the cross on Table Rock in the distance); not yet halfway there; climbing higher, along with many hundred of others; getting closer; Robin with her granddaughter at the top; crowd at the top; the Roman soldiers raise the cross; the cross at sunset; Simeon, the healed leper, watches the sunset.