Local churches to portray scenes of the cross

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 6, 2012

LAUREN WOOD/THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Actors relax before they rehearse the three crosses scene as part of the 11 live Holy Week scenes Thursday evening at the First Baptist Church. This is the first year the event has been hosted on a large scale outdoors.

NATCHEZ — Like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny can sometimes uproot the holiest day of the year from its biblical foundation.

But area churches will host events this Easter weekend rich with reflection about the last days of Jesus’ time on earth.

At First Baptist Church of Natchez, more than 200 people, including nine men playing Jesus, will help recreate those last days with live scenes from the week before he was risen from the dead.

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The live Holy Week scenes will be from 7 to 9 p.m. today and 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday.

FBC Music Minister Graham Smith said the scenes bring home the suffering and the great sacrifice that Jesus made, all which he endured knowing what he was facing at the end of the week.

“He still loved us despite what we put him through then and what we put him through even today,” Smith said.

Liz Farmer, right, talks to Lauren McCann, left, both dressed as angels at the tomb.

The scenes depicted will include the Triumphal Entry, the Last Supper, the Garden of Gethsemane, the houses of rulers Annas, Pontius Pilate, Caiaphas and Herod, the Via Dolorosa, the three crosses, the tomb guarded by Roman soldiers, the empty tomb and the Ascension into heaven.

Smith said the live still scenes will be the first of their kind in the area of this scale of which he’s aware. He said the church has worked since January to prepare the event. Work included sewing 243 costumes, building three crosses from trees, carpentry and engineering of a device that will hoist the man playing Jesus during the Ascension 209 feet in the air.

“It’s a journey with Christ through the last week of his life — the most important week in the history of the world,” Smith said.

Those interested in attending should reserve some of the limited number of tickets by calling the church at 601-442-1464. Smith said the tickets are free but will reserve a time slot for audience members.

Those who attend should use the Liberty Road entrance and wait to board trollies, each with a host, who will provide the live tour of Holy Week.

Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church

Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church will host a re-enactment of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ at 8:30 p.m. today.

The re-enactment has been given the title, “No Greater Love,” by Ruby Lucas, the coordinator of the event. Lucas said she chose this title because God loved us so much that he sent his only son to die on Calvary so that man might be redeemed.

To witness this unique experience, take a drive to 117 Pilgrim Blvd., and turn at the church’s entrance. Follow the instructions given by the parking lot attendants.

The journey starts with Jesus’ birth and continues with scenes that depict His entry into Jerusalem, performing of miracles, cleansing of the temple; the Last Supper, the agony of Christ in the Garden, the trial, the whipping of Christ, the bearing of the cross, dying on the cross, the Resurrection and the Ascension.

The re-enactment is a joint effort carried out by the members of the Pilgrim MBC.

Springfield Baptist Church

Springfield Baptist Church will host an Easter Egg hunt at 10 a.m. Saturday with an annual barbecue to follow at noon.

At 11 a.m. Sunday, the church’s choir will perform “Champion of Love” music cantata with a live portrayal of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

For more information contact Jody Stevens at 601-431-3416 or Cathy Warren at 601-431-3417.

Zion Hill No. 1 Baptist Church

This year’s program at Zion Hill No. 1 Baptist Church will be filled with preaching, praising and singing at 10 a.m. today.

The guest pastor is the Rev. Jarrod Bottley from Young’s Chapel Baptist Church, and Young’s Chapel Church’s choir will be the guest choir for this event.

The Missionary Society is celebrating 21 years sponsoring the Good Friday program.

“Come out and help them commemorate the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, the act that brought salvation to all who believe,” said Lynda Joe Williams, a member of Zion Hill.