Lenten lesson 7: The journey of the cross
"You would have no power over me unless it was given you from above," Jesus said in response to Pilate's question on the day of his crucifixion.
Using that power, compelled as he was by the religious leaders and the crowd, Pontius Pilate sent Jesus to be crucified, and ordered that the sign -- traditionally affixed to the cross to identify the crimes of the condemned -- read "Jesus of Nazareth The King of the Jews" in Hebrew, Greek and Latin.
The 2010 Community Lenten services closed Friday with the reading of the Passion of the Christ from the Gospel of St. John following the annual Cross Walk through downtown McCook. The reading bisected the journey of the cross. At the close of the service, George Young carried the cross the final yards to its destination at the front of the sanctuary at Memorial United Methodist Church. Young laid the cross down and hammered large sharp spikes into the wood, the sound of metal striking metal ringing through the sanctuary. Standing the cross upright, he sank into his seat for the final prayer and then joined a somber congregation filing out of the sanctuary, some wiping away fresh tears as the service closed.
The Rev. Lance Clay, pastor at Memorial United Methodist Church, the host church for this year's services, welcomed a community congregation of 68 with prayer.
The Rev. John Strecker-Baseler read the Old Testament lesson from Isaiah 52:13-53:12 and the congregation recited Psalm 22:1-11.
Pastor Clay continued the service with the reading of the Epistle, Hebrews 10:1-25.
The Rev. Jason VanPelt, associate pastor at McCook Christian Church, took the part of the evangelist, narrating the events as they are recorded in the Gospel of St. John, 18:1-40, 19:1-37.
The Rev. Bruce Lester, pastor at McCook Evangelical Free Church, gave voice to the words of Jesus recorded there and the Rev. Clark Bates, senior pastor at McCook Christian Church, challenged both the religious leaders of the day and Jesus, undertaking the unenviable role of Pontius Pilate.
Merrill Ream and Sharon Foster, members of the community congregation, added the voices of a bystander and soldier, while the Rev. John Strecker-Baseler, pastor at Our Savior's Lutheran Church, Jon Albrecht, pastor at McCook Harvest Church, and the Rev. Dr. Mary Hendricks, pastor at St. Alban's Episcopal Church filled the remaining roles.
Pastor Hendricks also led the Solemn prayers and Pastor Albrecht offered the closing prayer.
Evie Caldwell served as organist for the congregational singing.