Christians Observe Good Friday

It's a holy day of solitude, humility and prayer.

Churches across South Mississippi are observing Good Friday with special services and devotions.

For Christians, Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ.

One traditional Good Friday observance is called "the way of the cross". Trinity United Methodist church in Gulfport held such a service late in the morning.

"These fourteen steps that you are now about to walk, you do not walk alone. I walk with you," said the pastor, as he led the special service.

The way of the cross, or stations of the cross, marks the final hours of Christ's life on earth. Trinity's outdoor observance included simple paintings attached to pine trees.

"My Jesus Lord, I take my daily cross," prayed the group gathered.

The faithful reflect and pray at each of the stations. It's a service of remembrance and a call to humility.

Rev. Kristen Williams Matheny helped lead the service.

"Going through the stations of the cross, marking each station along Christ's walk to the cross, just helps call one's heart and mind to each and everything that happened in that day and in that journey," she said.

"Jesus falls again," said leader, Glen Buckalew, as he moved to the next station.

"The time will come when all your efforts seem to fail and you will think I can't go on. Then turn to me my heavy laden one, and I will give you rest," said the pastor.

"As many times as I've done it, and it's been many years now, I find a different station each time that touches my heart in a different way. And so, and I think many people do that," said Buckalew.

The way of the cross can evoke unpleasant images. It encourages Christians to recall the sacrificial suffering of their savior.

"They hold my hand and wrist against the wood and press the nail until it stabs my flesh. Then with one heavy hammer smash they drive it through," read the leader.

For believers, the joy of Easter is coming soon. But the pathway to resurrection Sunday is the pain of the cross on Good Friday.

"My God, my God, forsake us not, we know not what we do," said those gathered, as they concluded the service.