Worshippers marched through mild spring flurries as they participated in the annual Walk of the Cross, honoring the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his resurrection, Friday April 3.
“We gather on this solemn day to remember the journey of Jesus to his crucifixion,” said Ponoka United Church Minister Beatrix Schriner.
The Walk of the Cross, for those involved, is not only a day to worship but also a day to carry a cross of their own. “It’s a powerful experience,” said Schriner.
Ponoka’s Walk of the Cross was first organized in 1995 by Dan Helm, who continues to organize the significant event each year. “I think what’s really important is it sets the concept for Easter.”
“We really need to remember, we can’t have resurrection without death,” he added.
The Walk of the Cross is a time of quite reflection for some, and for others it is an opportunity to share the experience with friends and family.
“It’s a community event, that’s important as well,” said Helm.
The cross itself was carved and constructed by Helm after the wood was found in a farmer’s field near Ponoka. “(We) drove into the field and we looked for the biggest tree.”
Having lived outside for most of its life, the cross is quite weathered and aged. Helm says he may not be around for it, but eventually the cross will fall apart completely.
“For me, that’s part of the symbolism. Eventually it will rot away,” said Helm. He feels the cross is a symbol of the cruel torture Christ endured so it is fitting it will someday rot and fall away.
Helm also feels the walk is a good practice to come to terms and work through the challenges and “ugly things” in life.
Being an illustrious and longer event than what is seen in Ponoka, the Walk of the Cross is an ancient tradition and each year people from across the world flock to Jerusalem to retrace Christ’s steps through the desert.