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Church volunteers carry cross as reminder of Jesus’ sacrifice

MONTICELLO – With sweat beading on his forehead and his backbowed beneath the weight of 8-foot tall cross, the man labored upthe hill.

Missing from scene along Highway 84 Friday, however, was a crowdhurtling rocks, rotten fruit and vegetables.

Taking turns carrying a 25-lb. cedar cross, volunteers fromMonticello Baptist Church crossed Lawrence County on foot Friday toremind people that Easter is about more than bunnies and coloredeggs.

“We’re just trying to remind people what Jesus did for us.That’s what it’s all about,” said the Rev. Jon Daniels, paster atMonticello Baptist Church. “God gave us a beautiful day forthis.”

Historians can’t say with any certainty what the weather mayhave been like when Jesus carried the cross to His crucifixion, butthe Bible tells of His struggles, His slow death and Hisresurrection. Good Friday represents the day of His death, withEaster Sunday a celebration of His resurrection.

Over the years, however, commercialism has blurred the reasonfor the holiday, Daniels said. Church members devised the march tosymbolize the trials and travails of Jesus’ last hours.

Volunteers began their march at 6:30 a.m. Friday on Highway 84at the Lawrence-Lincoln county line and took turns carrying thecross 17 miles along the highway to the Lawrence-Jefferson Daviscounty line.

“A lot of folks came by and blowed their horns at us or stoppedto talk to us,” said church member David Martin.

At points along the walk, the cross-bearing volunteer was joinedby others who read from the Bible during the march and gave awayChristian tracts.

Even women took turns at carrying the burden.

“We had one lady who walked and toted it a good long way,”Martin said.

Sometimes, Daniels said, it takes visual symbolization to reachpeople.

In addition to Friday’s activity, the church will also celebratethe holiday with an Easter Cantata at 11 a.m. Sunday, Danielssaid.