Faith walk planned for this Friday


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 This faith walk is modeled after a prayer activity called the Stations of the Cross. In the tradition of the stations, one visits and prays at a location that has an artistic scene of part of Jesus’ walk to Calvary. This faith walk is centuries old. Early pilgrims went to Jerusalem, to see where Jesus walked on Good Friday, and prayed there. Traditionally, there were fourteen prayer stations. They started at the Garden of Gethsemane and ended at Jesus’ tomb.

When the Holy Land was cut off from the European pilgrims in the Middle Ages, somebody got the idea to replicate the stations to try to get the same experience. In local churches or on the grounds surrounding a church, stations were put up. The tradition of the stations was, of course, brought to America by immigrants.

So, here in Eagle River inside Saint Andrew church, there are fourteen scenes of Jesus’ Good Friday passion. Especially during our Lenten season, some of our church members walk around the inside of the church to pray at the stations. It is great meditative prayer, and graces follow from it just like any other prayer.

Right now, our church is in the process of enhancing our youth ministry. So we are trying the usual: more retreats, socials, fundraisers, athletic and service events. When our Love INC representative and I, a youth minister volunteer, crossed paths, the idea of a community-wide youth faith walk was hatched. She wanted to do an outdoor faith walk for the whole community. I liked the idea especially since we could do it as a youth event.

So here it is. For all the youth of Eagle River, an outdoor “Faith Walk” at St. Andrew church will be held at 5 p.m. on Good Friday (April 6).

Each church comes with a youth leader(s), who then leads the group (of youth and adults) in prayer at the stations. But, one can come individually and join a group or go it alone. Groups can also go together. A faith walk will likely last no more than a half hour.

A booklet of prayers for the stations will be provided. The leader says an opening and closing prayer verse. In between, there is a scriptural reading (NRSV), based upon the corresponding Gospel account for that station. Thus, this is called Scriptural Stations of the Cross. It’s all pretty straight-forward.

St. Andrew youth are looking forward to act as guides for the outdoor stations. Sodas, coffee, and hot chocolate will be provided afterwards at a hospitality table.

So what’s in it for you or your church group? Well first of all, since we are all in this together, a joint prayer service will show that, in the big picture, we are one in Jesus. For us individually, we get graces for ourselves so that we can be good witnesses to our neighbor, our community, and the whole world.

Because Jesus came for the whole world, let us together rejoice and celebrate His Good Friday, for we know there is an Easter ending that can’t be beat. If you can, come to the event to walk and pray together.

 

Eugene Cyrus has lived in Alaska since 1974 and has been a member of St. Andrew for over 30 years. He lives with his wife Dorothy in Chugiak, and is spending his retirement in youth ministry and youth sports.

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