Staff Photo: John Bohn Will Goodwin of Snellville plays the role of Jesus during a re-creation of the crucifixion of Jesus during an evening of meditation in preparation for Easter, held at the First United Methodist Church campground in Lawrenceville on Friday evening.
LAWRENCEVILLE -- As they walked away from the bustling Friday evening traffic of Ga. Highway 124, several dozen parishioners sought reflection and contemplation among a quiet calm only interrupted by crunching leaves and gravel.
Members of First United Methodist Church of Lawrenceville hosted a Good Friday service called "Walk to the Cross" on a peaceful campground where about 65 people participated in a prayer service and re-enactment of the crucifixion.
The church has put on the event for about 10 years, although not consecutively, said Lisa Johnson, the church's director of spiritual formation.
"The campground itself is inviting for a place of peace, a place of quiet, especially if you've been in traffic all day," Johnson said. "The minute you turn down, something in your soul just loosens."
Ann Osteen, a member of the drama group at the church, acted as Mary Magdalene at the foot of the cross and spoke emotionally of the pain and suffering that Jesus endured during the crucifixion. Osteen said Jesus' voice was almost silenced, and his eyes that once saw the best in people, now saw the worst in them.
"The man who once turned water into wine cannot quench his own thirst," Osteen said during the re-enactment.
Alongside Jesus, who was acted by Will Goodwin, were Marvin Willis and Ethan Goodwin, who depicted the thieves at the crucifixion.
"Everyone knows he was God in human form," Will Goodwin said. "I tried to present him in a broken and exhausted, near-death state. To make it clear the sacrifice he made to make to reach out to his people. To remind us all that he made the sacrifice, and this is a reminder of that sacrifice, and the thankfulness that we should all have in our lives."
Barry Blakley, a seminary student and missions intern at the church, read from Mark 15:21-47 after Johnson opened the service.
"From a Biblical sense, the time from Friday to the resurrection, a lot of people, if they do the introspection on the trial, pain, humiliation, all that Jesus endured on Friday, it gives them a greater appreciation for his sacrifice," Blakley said. "His resurrection then becomes more of a joyous event. The contrast from grief in the morning, to joy, I think that's sometimes one of the best ways to appreciate what Jesus did for us."