For centuries, Christian pilgrims have honored Good Friday by carrying crosses to commemorate the day approximately 2,000 years ago that Jesus of Nazareth carried his own cross, was crucified on it, died and was buried.
Walking the "Way of the Cross" involves carrying crosses, singing psalms and praying. There are usually stops to pause and meditate on the suffering of Christ. The objective is to make a spiritual pilgrimage in remembrance of Christ's sufferings and death.
People of faith are invited to participate in a Way of the Cross procession in south Augusta that starts at 10 a.m. Friday at Burns Memorial United Methodist Church, 2372 Lumpkin Road.
It is a 1.5-mile walk -- prayerful, quiet and reflective -- moving from Burns to Ascension Lutheran Church, to Hillcrest Baptist Church and ending at St. Joseph Catholic Church.
Participants may bring crosses of any size to help them remember that they are instructed by Jesus to take up their cross daily and follow him.
A short service will be held at noon at St. Joseph. Walkers should bring a nonperishable food donation for Golden Harvest Food Bank.
This event is sponsored by the South Augusta Pastors' Alliance, a diverse group that has learned that what unites them is much greater than that which divides them.
Walking the Way of the Cross is a devotion may be traced to the Holy Land. The Via Dolorosa, the path along which Christ carried his cross to Crucifixion in Jerusalem, has been followed by pious pilgrims since the days of Constantine.
Good Friday calls to mind the moment when Jesus died, and in so doing, paid the price for mankind's sins from that day forward and opened the door to salvation.
The Way of the Cross is a living sign that unity and goodness are transforming virtues, because those who are touched by them are changed forever. It is the ultimate symbol of resurrection and hope, the reminder that the eternal salvation purchased by Jesus on the cross is available and free for everyone.
Bob Garrett is the Convener of the South Augusta Pastors' Alliance, an elder of the Alleluia Community and the coordinator of the Way of the Cross in south Augusta.