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Pray along ‘Stations of the Cross’ path at FUMC

About nine years ago, the Rev. Cyndi McDonald of Barnesville First United Methodist Church was an intern pastor for a Methodist congregation in Marietta. There she first saw ‘the Stations of the Cross’ depicted in various ways and opened to the public for a ‘pilgrimage’ along the path of Jesus to the cross. ’I said to myself ‘˜I have to do this,’ after I saw what it meant to that congregation. Now it is here in Barnesville, beautifully and reverently presented by these artists in different media,’ she noted. ‘The Stations will be displayed in the sanctuary and open to anyone who wishes to worship or pray along this path, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday of this week,’ said McDonald. Church members will serve as guides when needed by visitors. f every artist who has given time and talent to the Stations of the Cross. Each one shows a separate relationship to Jesus, and the artists have been willing to comment on their work, she added. Andrew Henry has done an oil painting of the woman who touched Jesus’ shawl and was healed, ‘to go with the story of the women who followed Jesus to Golgotha when everyone else abandoned him,’ Henry said. Bambi Rogers’ water color depicts the ‘King of the Jews’ plaque over the head and face of Jesus, written in three languages spoken in Jerusalem at that time. Rogers said, ‘My work was a very emotional experience. I chose to display that sign as carved in stone, denoting the severity of the pain Jesus went through to do this for us. He spoke life to all of us with the Resurrection; then comes the elation of knowing his love.’ Eleanor Dixon Stecker’s oil painting depicts Judas betraying Jesus with a kiss. ‘Doing the painting was a very moving experience. I found myself entering into the relationship of Jesus and Judas ‘“ and I hope the viewers will too ‘“ and really seeing the dialogue of that relationship. Jesus has a gentle look that almost says to Judas, ‘˜I forgive you,’ but Judas is still burdened with his guilt.’ Alan Stecker’s three panels of digital works show Jesus’ face: first on the way to the cross, then twisted with suffering on the cross, then at peace at the resurrection. He says he ‘partners with the medium’ and tries repeatedly in a series until he is satisfied that he has ‘something that evokes a feeling in people who see it, something they can take with them ‘“ I want to do something to touch people’s hearts in a unique way.’ Pastor McDonald has done a painting of huge, almost frightened eyes, to show how Peter may have looked when he saw Jesus in the courtyard after the disciple had denied knowing his Lord three times. She also has done a collage of crosses and panels with the ‘Jesus, remember me’ theme from the penitent thief, as well as reflecting the grace of Jesus saying ‘this day you will be with me in paradise.’ Sue Walker is a church member who claims not to be an artist, but the pastor asked her to do Jesus’ hands as he carried the cross. ‘How could a human be worthy enough to paint our Savior’s hands as he carried his own death ‘“ for us? The emotions I had were very intense, but the pastor convinced me that whatever talent I have was given to show another way that Jesus suffered, to realize the depth of what was done to save us.’ Dr. Lee Woodall, noted for his pottery skills, offered a piece showing dark, desperate and devastated faces ‘“ ‘As though we were dead, as in Isaiah 59 ‘“ the sorrow and mourning of those who think that redemption is far away.’ Derek Petty submitted a photograph depicting Jesus washing the feet of the disciples, ‘an act showing his love for them and need to serve his people.’ Ernie Neubauer’s submission includes a bowl and towel: Pilate’s ‘washing his hands’ is shown in a series of photos from the concentration camps at Dachau and Sachsenhausen. The youth at FUMC have depicted Isaiah 53:4 ‘“ ‘Surely our griefs He himself bore, and our sorrows He carried,’ with a collage of newspaper headlines and images of suffering and sin present in our world today. Sam Tapley’s acrylic painting shows how Jesus saves the world; the lord is hanging from a cross in space as his blood pours out onto the planet. He chose that, he says, because the theme is borrowed ‘from Salvador Dali’s ‘˜Christ of St. John of the Cross,’ who borrowed it from someone else. It is a powerful visual message that Jesus died for all of His creation.’ He is a longtime friend of McDonald from Norcross. ’I hope that all who come will leave with deep feelings of gratitude and love, and renewed to be faithful followers of Jesus, even unto death,’ said Pastor McDonald.

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