This morning at 7 AM, this happened on the dirt road behind our house in Croatia.
We got up early so that we could join people from the village in their Good Friday procession of carrying the cross in remembrance of what Jesus did for us on this day more than two thousand years ago.
Nearly everyone from the village (around 100 people) left their homes in the dark at 4 AM and walked a three hour procession together, in quiet, with just a few men singing laments over the death of Christ.
As the sun came up, and they finished their procession throughout the village and nearby vineyards, they brought the cross back to the church.
Each year, a man from the village is chosen for the task of carrying it. You can see him below, in the tan robe, the cross shrouded in black, a somber reminder of the ultimate price Jesus paid for us.
The cross was placed inside the church and everyone returned to their homes.
One of our friends here in the village told us that her father and this man, pictured below, are the oldest ones who walked the procession today. In all likelihood, he has walked it since childhood as it's a long tradition of the village, and even on the island, where something similar takes place in other locations.
This evening we all returned to the church.
We weren't exactly positive about what would be happening, but at the invitation of our friend, we went!
As it turned out, there was a service in the church, then a break for a half hour where everyone returned to their houses. We were kindly invited by friends in the village to come in for cake.
Afterward we all returned to the church for another service, followed by a procession through the village lit by candles all along the way.
All crosses in the church were taken out at this procession, and won't be returned until Easter morning.
While I don't know if the tradition of this procession is just that...tradition....it was a very moving way for me to remember the day that Jesus went to the cross to make the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.
How thankful I am that Jesus conquered sin and death, and that on Sunday we will celebrate the greatest gift of all time: his resurrection!
Jesus descended into darkness all those years ago, obedient to his Father and death on the cross. This ultimate and perfect sacrifice on our behalf created the path of redemption and restoration, that we might have a way to the Father, and one day, to everlasting life.
Hallelujah, what a Savior!! I am utterly grateful to Jesus for his willingness to sacrifice so that I might be found and forgiven by him one day!