An interactive way of the cross
HAVE you ever wondered how painful those thorns on Jesus Christ’s head were; how heavy the cross on his back was and how big and piercing those nails were when he died on the cross?
How arduous was Jesus’ struggle to just keep on loving enemies and how agonizing it must have been for him to be betrayed by friends?
In time for Holy Week, a unique and personal walk through Christ’s passion and death is being offered by Bradford Church in Cebu City.
Bradford’s version of the Way of the Cross, also known as “Via Crucis”, is called “WalkThru: Reflections of Calvary, an interactive journey through the last moments of Jesus Christ.”
“We were inspired by the concept of the Stations of the Cross at Bonifacio Global City called Walkway. We asked their permission to have the same concept here in Cebu,” Senior Pastor Macky Sabaye, head organizer of the event, said.
WalkThru offers a chance to visit all the 14 stations that Jesus went through; but unlike other stations of the cross, Bradford’s version does not require pilgrims to walk distances or climb hills to meditate.
On the 4th floor of their Christian Education Building in Brgy. Sambag Dos, Urgello St., several rooms have been designed to simulate the sufferings of Jesus Christ.
In every station, there are at least three things that pilgrims have to do: read scripture, reflect on it and then respond.
“No one will guide you in this process. You are just alone,” said Pastor Macky, explaining that each pilgrim must go through the journey individually, without any companion.
At the station when Jesus carries his cross, the pilgrim is asked to carry a life-sized crucifix with the actual weight of Jesus’ cross in Calvary.
“We actually made a replica of Jesus’ thorns that they can put on,” said Pastor Macky.
Reproductions of the nails used to crucify Jesus are also on display.
“You just reflect — this is the pain that Jesus Christ felt,” he said
In the station where Jesus is betrayed by Judas, “a pilgrim will write a letter on how you were betrayed. You can name the person then you forgive the person,” the pastor explained.
In the fifth station, the reflection will ask pilgrims to pray for someone else’s intention just like how Simon of Cyrene helped carry Jesus’ cross.
After taking the interactive journey through Christ’s passion, counselors like pastors and church elders await pilgrims to help them sort out their feelings.
“Normally, the pilgrims who finish the 14th station cry so much and they want to unburden their emotions so we pray for them,” Pastor Macky said.
A Bradford member who experienced a Catholic Via Crucis in Bonifacio Global City, Metro Manila, suggested to have this activity in Cebu.
“We are Presbyterian, so more or less we have the same traditions as the Catholic. We still have the last supper, the seven last words, we do fasting so basically we follow the traditional Lent season activities,” he said.
“So, why not do the Stations of the Cross? We believe that it’s a good thing for people to understand the passion of Christ,” Pastor Macky added.
Bradford’s Way of the Cross opened last Monday, April 10, and will run until Black Saturday, April 15, from 9 a.m. to 8 pm.
There are no registration fees and it is open to everyone./Silliman University Intern Ray Chen S. Bahinting
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