MORRIS – During his last hours on the cross, Jesus said seven final statements, often referred to as the seven last words of Jesus Christ.
Those words were spoken Friday afternoon as participants in the Good Friday – Walk with the Cross that journeyed from church to church in the downtown Morris area.
“Jesus came to save all of us,” Sister Deborah Funfsinn said. “All the churches coming together is important.”
The Rev. Dr. Roy Backus, with First Presbyterian Church in Morris, organized the cross walk several years ago and opened it to the downtown Morris churches to participate.
The walk Friday included First Presbyterian Church; St. Thomas Episcopal Church; My Father’s House of Prayer, which lead devotion at the Canal Port Plaza; Christian Youth Center; First United Methodist Church of Morris; Immaculate Conception Church; and Living Water Church of the Nazarene.
At each church, those attending heard the word and a short devotional on what it means.
Backus told those in attendance at First Presbyterian Church the first words, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do,” from Luke 23:34.
“I’m trying to think about a time when people knew what they were doing. When did people ever know what they were doing?” Backus said. “Religious leaders at that time thought they knew what they were doing. Everybody thought they were doing the right thing.”
He spoke of forgiveness and the crowd gathered recited the Lord’s prayer before singing a hymn as Adam Roseland of Morris picked up the cross from the front of the church and carried it through the pews, out the door of the church and onto the sidewalk, honoring the walk Jesus Christ made through the streets.
“I think we do it remembering the Lord,” Backus said. “As we walk we have a new conversation with the body of Christ.”
Local youth took turns carrying the cross along the sidewalks of Morris as they journeyed from one church to the next. While the cross was not as heavy as the cross Jesus carried, and the burden was not the same, the experience was eye opening.
“It’s uncomfortable, it’s a heavy weight on your shoulder as you carry it,” said Roseland, the first teen to carry it from First Presbyterian Church to St. Thomas. “It shows the pain Jesus had to go through during the several miles he had to walk.”
With temperatures about 60 degrees by the time the walk started at noon, many people took the opportunity to enjoy the spring weather. As the walk left the second church the group had grown to nearly 100 people, with others joining as they went on.
For those who couldn’t walk between the churches, a short car ride took them to each stop to hear the next message.
Michael Gonzalez brought his 6-year-old son Tristan for the walk, the first they have participated in, carrying him on his shoulders as they walked down Fulton Street toward Canal Port Plaza.
“I want my son to have the experience,” Gonzalez said. “My son knows the Lord very well, but this gives us a chance to be out with the community, and it’s a good day for a walk.”
Good Friday – Walk with the Cross
Jesus said seven final statements while on the cross, often referred to as the seven last words of Jesus Christ. Those were repeated Friday during the Good Friday – Walk with the Cross held in Morris. Those statements, and the church they were spoken at, were:
• First Presbyterian Church: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34
• St. Thomas Episcopal Church: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43
• My Father’s House of Prayer at Canal Port Plaza: “Woman, behold your son: behold your mother.” John 9:26-27
• Christian Youth Center: “Eli Eli lama sabachthani?” (My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?) Matthew 27:46
• First Methodist Church: “I thirst.” John 19:28
• Immaculate Conception Church: “It is finished.” John 19:30
• Living Water Church of the Nazarene: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” Luke 23:46