It wasn’t a long or difficult journey Tuesday for a small group walking from the Methodist church to the Presbyterian church in Brownstown.
The two churches are only a few blocks apart, and the weather was picture perfect with clear skies, sunshine and a light breeze.
But the walk was much more than a leisurely stroll.
By carrying a large wooden cross, the outing was a time to reflect on the journey Jesus took to his own death on the cross, said Pastor Scott Erwin of Brownstown First Baptist Church.
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“We need to remember, leading up to Easter, what took place, and this is just a small way to give us an idea,” he said.
Each day this week, the Brownstown Ministerial Association, a group of clergy members from Brownstown area churches, has organized and led the walk, inviting anyone to join along.
The 30- to 45-minute walk begins at one church and ends at another, starting at Brownstown Church of Christ on Monday and finishing today at Brownstown Christian Church.
On Good Friday, the cross will be carried into Brownstown Church of the Nazarene, where the community is invited to take part in a Good Friday service at noon.
During the cross walk, the group — which averages about a dozen people — has stopped along the way to pray for others. Those stops have included the Jackson County Courthouse to pray for government workers and Brownstown Central High School to ask God to watch over students, teachers and staff there.
Shauni Brown said the best part of the walk is not the beginning or the end but what comes in between.
“I love doing this,” she said after helping carry the cross on the last leg of the walk Tuesday from the high school across the street to the Presbyterian church. “What is most special to me are the stops we make along the way, where we come together to pray for people.”
As a volunteer at the school, she often prays for the safety and well-being of the children and for patience, wisdom and understanding for teachers, she said.
“Praying is something we all can do,” she said.
Carol Persinger has participated in several of the previous cross walks. She was chosen Tuesday to carry the maroon-colored cloth that had been draped over the cross.
She said the walks are a great way to express and share her faith with others and to observe the sacrifices Jesus made to take away our sins.
“It’s good to be able to gather with believers and followers in Christ,” she said.
Pastor Doug Pogue of Brownstown Christian Church said the walks also are a way to remind the public of what Holy Week is about.
He said today’s society has changed the meaning of Easter from the Resurrection to one of Easter egg hunts, candy and the Easter Bunny. Although those commercial aspects can be fun and enjoyable, he said, people should not lose sight of the real meaning of Easter.
He said that during Monday’s walk a man stopped and asked what they were doing and decided to join them as they prayed on the courthouse steps.
A group of Seymour pastors, including Gary Dyer and Larry Robbins from Seymour Harvest Church and Sandy Cooper from Seymour First United Methodist Church, also have started a cross walk this year.
Pogue said that is why the number of participants was down somewhat for Brownstown’s walk.
“They usually would come over and walk with us, but I’m glad to see they are getting it started in Seymour so that the community can get involved,” he said.
For Daryl Amis, the new children’s pastor at Brownstown Christian Church, the cross walk was a new experience, one in which he felt blessed to take part.
“I think it’s great,” he said. “It shows unity, which is very important to Jesus. I believe he smiles down upon this.”
He said many churches often don’t work together.
Amis has led trips to Israel, where he has followed the actual Via Dolorosa, which is the name for the path Jesus took, carrying the cross on which he would be crucified.
“It’s very humbling and emotional,” Amis said of the walk. “It puts things in perspective.”
Erwin said carrying the cross is the closest they can get to experiencing what it must have been like for Jesus.
“Feeling the actual weight of the wood and how that affects your physical steps as you walk along, and thinking what it had to be doing to Jesus when he carried it, after he had been beaten and whipped nearly to death,” Erwin said.
He also said it serves as a reminder that Christians are meant to serve others.
“Jesus said, ‘If anyone wants to follow after me, he must take up this cross,’” Erwin said. “Christians don’t always portray this very well in our lives. By carrying the cross, it’s a timely reminder that we are to be dying to ourselves and our desires daily and serving other people before ourselves.”
Brownstown Community Good Friday Service
Where: Brownstown Church of the Nazarene on Commerce Street
When: Noon Friday
Brownstown Community Easter Sunrise Service
Where: Brownstown First Baptist Church
When: 6:45 a.m. Sunday
Who: All are welcome to attend
Information: 812-358-4172 or 812-358-2020
Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast
Where: Pines Evergreen Room, 4289 U.S. 31 North in Seymour
When: 7 a.m. Friday
Information: 812-522-4020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org