Held on the church’s grounds at 850 Douthit Ferry Road in Cartersville, St. Francis of Assisi’s offering will depict events between Jesus’ condemnation and Crucifixion.
“We try to put the play together to help people get a closer, more personal view or involvement in what the Passion of our Lord is,” said Cayetano Garcia, a coordinator of St. Francis of Assisi’s Live Stations of the Cross. “We tend to forget stuff and [to not] remember as often as we should, so it’s a way of at least once a year helping people feel closer to and experience it in a more personal way, just to help them see the example of our Lord’s sacrificing himself and God giving up his son for our well-being, for our salvation. So it’s just trying to do that.
“We’re very visual — I think most of us are. We can read about it. We can read the Bible. We can meditate on it when we read, but actually being there and being able to see it sort of brings you to that moment in history. ... It’s not the exact moment, but it helps you understand better. It helps you even sort of feel what people at that moment, in that community could have felt when they were seeing this being done to their Lord. So I guess that’s the main goal, to help people have a better, closer, more personal experience of what the Passion is.”
Spectators are invited to follow the actors’ path on the church’s grounds throughout the 14 steps, which include first station, Jesus is condemned to death; second station, Jesus carries his cross; third station, Jesus falls the first time; fourth station, Jesus meets his blessed mother; fifth station, Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry his cross; sixth station, Veronica wipes the face of Jesus; seventh station, Jesus falls the second time; eighth station, Jesus speaks to the women of Jerusalem; ninth station, Jesus falls the third time; 10th station, Jesus is stripped of his garments; 11th station, Jesus is nailed to the cross; 12th station, Jesus dies on the cross; 13th station, Jesus is taken down from the cross; and 14th station, Jesus is laid in the tomb.
Along with the drama, St. Francis of Assisi also will observe Good Friday by conducting a liturgy service at 7 p.m.
From 3 to 6 p.m. on Friday, Sam Jones Memorial UMC will debut a live Passion scene on its youth house’s lawn on the corner of Church and Erwin streets. For the presentation, three crosses will be equipped with small foot rests for the performers to stand on during their rotation.
“We’ll have three men portraying Jesus and the two thieves hanging on the cross,” said Kevin Lobello, senior pastor of Sam Jones Memorial UMC, 100 W. Church St. in Cartersville. “They’ll be up on ... three large crosses there. Then we’ll also have some Roman soldiers and some shepherds and the women kneeling there at the cross. What we hope is [when people] come over that bridge and over that hill there and see that, [they would] ... first and foremost be reminded of what day it is and also more importantly be reminded of the depth of God’s love for all humanity.
“We do a live Nativity on that spot every year and folks seem to really appreciate that and a lot of folks drive by to see that. We thought it was rather significant to do a live Passion scene on the same piece of ground that we do the live Nativity on. This will tell about the totality of God’s love for us. I just want to emphasize that his Passion and death and Resurrection are just all about God’s love for all his children. That’s what I just hope people will take away, that and the power and importance of the Passion and Resurrection, because it changed humanity’s destiny.”
Prior to his church’s Passion scene, Lobello will be delivering a message during a Good Friday service at First Presbyterian Church — 183 W. Main St. in Cartersville — at noon. The joint service that has been rotating between the two churches since 2005 also will feature music provided by First Presbyterian. Assisting Lobello, will be Ted Smith, senior pastor, and Julie Jensen, associate pastor, for First Presbyterian and Nena Jones, associate pastor for Sam Jones Memorial UMC.
“I’m going to be doing a meditation on the last seven words, the last seven sayings of Christ from the cross,” Lobello said. “Very oftentimes when people speak their last words, they don’t know they’re their last words that they’re going to speak. ... But Jesus knew they were his last utterances, his last sayings. So each of the words that he uttered from the cross have a great significance both theologically and for us as the church.
“For instance, the first word from the cross is ‘Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ I’ll talk about how Jesus was a man of forgiveness, about how he lived in a spirit of forgiveness telling us to turn the other cheek and he died with forgiveness on his lips and then tell folks that I think we need a lot more forgiveness in the world today and a lot more understanding of one another in the world today as well. I don’t think we can truly appreciate the power of Easter unless we understand the power of his Passion and death and that the motivating factor behind his death was God’s love for all humanity.”
For more information on Easter-related services throughout Bartow, view today’s edition of The Daily Tribune News’ Family & Living page.