Churches reflect on Jesus' sacrifice with Good Friday services
by Marie Nesmith
Apr 20, 2011 | 3159 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
At noon on Good Friday, St. Francis of Assisi’s Live Stations of the Cross will depict 14 major points between Jesus’ condemnation and death.
FILE/The Daily Tribune News
At noon on Good Friday, St. Francis of Assisi’s Live Stations of the Cross will depict 14 major points between Jesus’ condemnation and death. FILE/The Daily Tribune News
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Prior to celebrating his Resurrection, area Christians will have the opportunity to reflect on their Savior's Crucifixion Friday. St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church and Cartersville First Baptist are among the churches that will be conducting Good Friday offerings for the public.

At noon, St. Francis of Assisi's Live Stations of the Cross will depict 14 major points between Jesus' condemnation and death.

"It begins with the trial before Pilate [with Jesus] being condemned to death," Father Dan Stack said, referring to the drama, which will be presented on the grounds of St. Francis of Assisi, 850 Douthit Ferry Road in Cartersville. "Basically it concludes with him being taken down from the cross. I hope that [the drama] will enable [people] to enter into the mystery.

"The Eastern church uses icons. They consider an icon to be a window to the sacred and that's what I hope this will be, is a window to the sacred [and] enable folks to enter into the mystery of our Lord's suffering [and] death and find their place in it. ... The crux of the Easter story for us is obviously death isn't the end. Death is a transition point."

With the drama primarily organized and presented by the church's Spanish-speaking population, Stack said the immigration bill passed by the Georgia General Assembly will likely impact the drama, resulting in fewer participants.

"We've got a chunk of our population who are not secure. ... With the Latino population, whether or not one has legal status, you can be sure that they have friends and family who don't," he said, adding the presentation normally draws a total of about 300 people. "So it just makes them insecure."

Following the drama, St. Francis of Assisi also will be offering two liturgy services: 7 p.m., English speaking; and 8:30 p.m., Spanish speaking.

As the Catholic church's 7 p.m. liturgy gets under way, another Good Friday service -- 7 Cries from the Cross -- also will begin at Cartersville First Baptist Church, 241 Douthit Ferry Road.

"Our goal is to take people to the cross, and we do that through music, through video and then through speaking. What's unique about this is there's a total of seven different speakers that are going to speak individually about each cry or each station of the cross," said Frank Bennett, worship pastor for Cartersville First Baptist, adding Jesus' seven statements from the cross include "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do;" "Today you shall be with me in paradise;" "Mother behold your son, son behold your mother;" "Father why have you forsaken me;" "I thirst;" "It is finished;" "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." "... In between these different cries, there's going to be video and music.

"Our goal is for people to remember the cross. Easter's coming up two days after Good Friday and [it is] obviously a great, big celebration. A lot of times, we're so focused on Easter and the Resurrection -- that's all important -- [but] a lot of times we kind of skip over the cross, and our goal is to remind people and to remind ourselves of the cross and what that meant."

Joining the pastors of Cartersville First Baptist, the other individuals who will be speaking include Michael Boatfield, pastor at Raccoon Creek Baptist Church; Jeff Duvall, pastor at Friendship Baptist Church; and David Franklin, associational missionary for Bartow Baptist Association.

"It's not a celebration at all. It's going to be a funeral service," Bennett said. "We really feel like this service will help better prepare people for the expectation of Easter. I remember the first time watching 'The Passion of the Christ' movie and some of those elements of 'Passion of the Christ' will be in this service.

"But I remember watching that movie for the first time and walking out of that theater and not a word was spoken. You felt like you were at a funeral and then it made Easter all that more powerful. That's kind of what our goal is here, to be reminded of what Christ did. And then yes, we think that this service will help Easter [be] that more impactful."

For more details on Easter-related services, view upcoming editions of The Daily Tribune News, especially the Family & Living page on Thursday. One of these community happenings is the Prayer Pilgrimage, in which participants will meet at Douglas Street United Methodist Church today between 3:30 to 4 p.m. and walk to St. Francis of Assisi.