Carrying the cross

Christ's sacrifice remembered

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A small band of committed followers was undeterred by the wind and snow Friday in downtown Steamboat Springs. They pulled their coats tight, hoisted umbrellas and continued on their way.

Three-year-old Gabriel Hart held his mother's hand as they crossed the street to the Routt County Courthouse. "We're here to glorify Jesus and remember his sacrifice for us on the cross," Belinda Hart said.

The courthouse was one of 14 places where the short procession of clergy and parishioners stopped to pray, read and sing. Men and women took turns leading the group and carrying a wooden cross in remembrance of the man who bore his own cross through the streets of Jerusalem more than 2,000 years ago.

Their journey down Lincoln Avenue and adjoining streets marked Good Friday, the time of year when Christians observe Christ's crucifixion.

The Steamboat Springs Ministerial Association organized the ecumenical walk several years ago.

Tim Selby, pastoral associate at the Steamboat Springs United Methodist Church, and Peggy Mulvihill, a former youth pastor at Holy Name Catholic Church, rewrote the traditional Stations of the Cross liturgy last year for the community and people who work in the community.

Stations of the Cross chronicles moments in Christ's journey to Calvary, where he was crucified.

Previous processions offered general readings about the suffering of Christ and never stopped at planned locations.

Friday's procession related the suffering of Christ on the day he was crucified with real needs in the community and throughout the world. Each of the 14 sites represented ministries of caring and compassion in Steamboat and Routt County.

The group departed from the sanctuary of the United Methodist Church, where people examined their own lives and prayed that they might welcome people of all faiths and ethnicities. "I'm thankful that we do this ... in our community," the Rev. Larry Oman of the United Methodist Church told the small assembly.

The procession paused before such locations as the LIFT-UP Food Bank, school district administration office, fire department, police department and Horizons.

Some cars honked at the train of people on Oak Street, and some casual observers acknowledged the group's intent with a wave. The tradition of people bearing the cross on their backs through town dates back to the fifth century. People carry the cross through the streets of Jerusalem today.

Good Friday does not generate the same attention as Easter Sunday, but the men and women who trudged through the elements Friday showed they felt otherwise.

Without the crucifixion there would be no resurrection, which people around the world will celebrate Sunday.

The dreary conditions that followed the followers were reminiscent of the day Christ died, Wayne Wilhelm said.

Friday was the first time he and his wife, Debra, took part in the ecumenical walk.

"It's fitting," he said of the weather.

But then Sunday came, he added. This Sunday, millions of Christians will celebrate the idea that life can conquer the grave.


-- To reach Danie Harrelson call 871-4203 or e-mail dharrelson@steamboatpilot.com

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