This was the fourth year that the Way of the Cross as a Journey has taken place at the Nappanee First Brethren Church. It's an adaption of stations of the cross. The stations are more commonly represented by statues, paintings or tapestries. Four years ago I found a blog entry where each stage was represented with a photograph of Unites States servicemen.
It started with the senior pastor asking me to see what I can come up with for the church to have this representation. My first reaction was, "Say What?" He then explained it a little and pointed out we could even have an actual "tomb" for our purposes of a 9th station where Jesus is buried. As I stated in the previous blog - Good Friday was a day I usually didn't get off work to "celebrate" and it must be a Catholic thing like Ash Wednesday. I am ignorant, I know. Easter however I think even has a child I liked more than Christmas.
God has given me creative talent and when used for His glory and His purpose it's truly a beautiful thing. I was given verses for each station. I am one that loves research. I totally love a good library and a reason to google. In 4th grade for recess I would hide in the library. I mean if I was going to be left out and alone why not be in place where I found comfort. And a total nerd, am I.
The images in my head that God gave me for this "journey" I can't put into reality unless suddenly Speilberg or Lucas became members of our church. Pause ... How cool would that be?! God however did give me ideas that have been put into practice.
We have a whole room dedicated to each station. Each station has the verses printed out. Each station has a dedicated color and the colors weren't chosen without thought. I looked up color theory and decided on what color best represented the thought and feel of the room. Each room has a song and the lyrics are written in the devotional. Some rooms have an activity. Some rooms have a scented candle. Some rooms have photographs of people who attend the church, to make the room that much more personal. It's to point out that what happened is not something that happened centuries ago but that picking up the cross is a daily thing, it's a NOW thing. In essence the rooms are to activate the senses.
Each year I walk the journey. I read the devotional, I read the verses, I do the activity and each year even though I know what's in each room I'm moved to tears and each year a different room makes a more profound impression on me.
Two things stood out this year... Jesus CHOSE the cross. He could have ran for the hills but he didn't. There are certain people I would quickly die for, there are even fewer I would suffer for but I certainly would not choose to suffer and die for ALL. I wouldn't even do it for myself - I'm under the impression that what I get, I deserve even less of the good or more of the bad whatever the case may be.
The second thing is "why hast Thou forsaken Me?". I can't tell you how many times I think that God has forgotten me, or delayed an answer, or merely I am not "hearing" what God wants. My reasoning is that I'm not being "Christian" enough. That because I'm not reading my bible enough or praying enough or thinking good things enough that God is waiting to answer me till I do these things enough ... But even Jesus had to wait ... he suffered, he was pierced, he forgave, he took care that his earthly mother was cared for and yet he breathed. He was on no fast track that day. I hope I can remember this when I pray for an end to what ever tribulation I'm going through at the time.
What joy there is knowing that it is finished. That this is just temporary. That He has Risen and Lives!
Happy Resurrection day!