Cross Walk News Articles

Good Friday Re-Enacted : Moravian Youths Carry the Cross

By Virtie Stroup, Reprinted from the Winston-Salem Journal, 1975

A man called Simon from Cyrene had to be pressed into service to carry Jesus’ cross, but Moravian young people volunteered for the role yesterday. They took turns carrying a handmade cross through downtown Winston-Salem. They wore towels and receiving blankets, choir robes and tennis shoes as costumes to represent First Century soldiers and followers of Jesus. Others came in jeans and earth sandals. They walked in silence to the drummer’s somber cadence. They had been instructed that this was not an activity to be laughed at. That was the way it had been many years ago. So it became a Good Friday penitence that left its sting.

A midafternoon beer drinker ran from his bar long enough to shout, “Hup, two, three, four.” but his afterthoughts made his smile fade. Storeowners and shoppers filled doorways. They rushed to see the parade. Instead they found high school kids walking two by two behind seven or eight crossbearers.

“What does it mean?” was the most frequent question. It was obvious that Good Friday was not a part of their Easter holiday. Two elderly women waiting for the bus smiled their approval. “Ain’t that nice,” one of them said. “Ain’t that nice. Let’s just follow them.”

The three-block tour through God’s Acre at first frightened those decorating the graves. Was this school children making fun? But when the crossbearers came into range, they saw the flushed faces, the weariness from the weight. Doubt was eased. “Young people doing something good.” one said. In Old Salem visitors stopped taking pictures of the past and turned to the Trinity Moravian Youth following their leader. An older couple, here after reading about the Easter service in Reader’s Digest, joined their ranks. At journey’s end, the group had doubled to 60. An invitation to talk about the experience turned instead to music: “It only takes a spark to get a fire going…” “Once you’ve experienced God’s love, you’ll want to pass it on…” At the end they knelt in prayer at the cross. They were quiet. A few wept. Weariness mingled with accomplishment. It had been a Good Friday.