As a wooden cross was carried through downtown Seymour on Good Friday, Pastor Gary Dyer prayed for the people and businesses they passed by.
Being the first person to wear a purple cloth around his neck and a thorny crown on his head on the walk from First United Methodist Church to Trinity United Methodist Church, he considered it a privilege and an honor to carry the cross, to shoulder the cross.
He shared that message in a prayer at First United Methodist before the walk began.
“Father, may we always remember the sacrifice that you made. You gave your body. You gave it all,” Dyer said. “You gave your body to be bruised and battered and beaten beyond recognition. God, you shed your blood from almost everywhere, and you were covered by your own blood so we could become by the blood today. What a great thing, God, just to be in service to the king of kings and lord of lords and the prince of peace.”
Dyer, pastor at Seymour Harvest Church, said he’s thankful God shed his blood so others’ sins can be removed and he can help others.
On the walk Friday, Dyer wanted everyone to remember the sacrifice God made by going up the hill to lay down his life as nails were driven into his hands and feet on the cross.
“Today, let them not see us, but let them see you, God,” he said. “Let them remember what you did, Jesus. Just forget about me. … Let somebody along this route be saved. Let somebody be touched by just seeing that cross. I’m so thankful for my brothers and sisters that have gathered here today to glorify the great and holy name of my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ.”
The annual Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Cross Walk activities were sponsored by First United Methodist Church, Trinity United Methodist Church, Seymour Harvest Church and Bethel Community Church. The tradition continued leading up to Easter Sunday.
On Friday, Trinity United Methodist Pastor Angel Armstrong opened by speaking inside First United Methodist.
“It is my prayer that as we walk with that cross today, as we take turns shouldering that cross, that we will give up our individual crosses and we will lay down everything before our Lord, Jesus Christ,” she said. “After all, if he could lay down his life for us, can we not lay down our own individual burdens for him?”
As people weary God with their sins and disobedience, Armstrong said he promises to care for all of his people.
“Our God always does a new thing, or as Revelations says, he makes all things new,” she said. “He never changes, but he reveals himself to us deeper and deeper. As layers are peeled back and he is revealed to us in deeper fashion, the salvation of Christ shows.”
The Cross Walk made stops in front of the John Mellencamp mural, at Burkhart Plaza and at Steinker Platz for participants to recite a Bible verse and listen to a song. Each time and in a few other places, people took turns carrying the cross.
It all ended inside Trinity United Methodist, where a video of the song “It Is Finished” by the Gaither Vocal Band was played and the Rev. Teresa Poole of First United Methodist spoke.
Poole’s message revolved around a plant emerging from what’s left behind in the soil, and it turns into something better and transformational.
“When Jesus died on the cross and was placed in the tomb, he was planted,” she said. “It wasn’t the end. He was preparing to overcome death and sin. He was preparing to leave death and sin behind. That’s what he left behind.”
To leave sin and death behind, Poole said it no longer has the ability to grow.
“So are you ready to be planted? Are you ready to leave behind what you no longer need to become what Jesus needs you to be?” she asked. “Because Jesus was planted on Good Friday. … What he left behind as he was transformed, oh do we know, we know something the disciples didn’t know at the time, but we know Sunday is coming.”
After one of Poole’s favorite hymns, “Were You There,” was sung, people received wooden crosses made by Bethel Community members as they made their way out of the church and went on with their Easter weekend.