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Monday, 20 April 2009 21:19

Good Friday Walk of the Cross

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This past Good Friday over 200 Christians took to the streets of Beaverton, Oregon, to pray and reflect on Christ's passion and on social justice issues. Twelve congregations, Catholic and Protestant, participated in the ecumenical Good Friday Walk of the Cross. It was organized by the Beaverton suburban vicariate for Peace and Justice, including Maryknoll Affiliates, Mary and Manny Hotchkiss.

We have traditionally participated in a Walk of the Cross in nearby Portland. We enjoy praying and singing outdoors with other Christians and recognizing social justice issues in our community. The organizers of the Walk in Portland inspired and mentored us to start a Good Friday Walk of the Cross in our suburban community. Some people warned us,”There aren't enough sites in Beaverton to walk to. Everyone in Beaverton drives.” But we found many pertinent sites for a mile walk. The first Walk in Beaverton in 2008 was so warmly received that it has now become an annual event.

In the Walk of the Cross a large, rough wooden cross topped with a circle of thorny vines is carried at the head of the procession. Participants walk behind the cross between 2 churches, stopping at 8 stations along the way. Each station addresses a current social justice issue and relates it to Christ's passion almost 2000 years ago.

The issues were housing, sanctity of life, war and peace, immigration, education, health care, sustainability, and a new station for 2009, torture. The station at the Elsie Stuhr Center for senior citizens addressed respect for life “from conception to natural death.” Christ's death sentence on Good Friday some 2000 years ago, brought to mind the current application of the death penalty in Oregon. The reflection on War and Peace at the Beaverton Veterans Memorial implored us to “stop believing in war” and to remember that Jesus taught us “to love your enemies.” We also stopped at a county health office, a Farmers Market, and a school. The station on affordable housing told of one parish's work with Habitat For Humanity. A Latino community presented the station on immigration and compared the immigrants in the U.S. to the immigrant, Simon of Cyrene, carrying Christ's heavy burden. In recognition of the numerous Latino participants, our written program of songs and readings included Spanish.

We were very moved, remembering Christ's crucifixion and praying with our neighbors in God's beautiful creation. We hope that in the future we will be able to work with the Beaverton congregations to address problems in our community. One participant told us,“We felt happy because we were with Jesus on his walk.”


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