By Julie Grant

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ETNA (KDKA) — “Street theater” to spread the good news on this Good Friday. The 23rd annual “Way of the Cross” re-enactment took place in the streets of Etna on Friday morning.

Traveling from Pine and Locusts streets all the way up the steep hill of High Street, a group of men and women carried a wooden cross to re-enact the suffering of Jesus Christ.

“I think it gets us to go back and reflect, to really think about what happened on Good Friday,” said Judy Erlen, Choir Director at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Etna.

People of all ages and differing Christian denominations united in the solemn demonstration to show love and respect for their Savior.

“What it must have been like to watch, even though what we’re seeing is a re-enactment. Just to sort of think about what that had to have meant and what it means today,” said Erlen.

etna way of the cross 23rd Annual Way Of The Cross Re Enactment Travels Through Etna

(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Steve Willing)

Prayer stations along the way are a central part of the annual “Way of the Cross” demonstration. At First Congregational Church of Etna Cemetery, the cross was raised onto another cross.

“When this event initially started, they used to carry that telephone pole cross through the streets of Etna. Now, we mount the cross on the original cross in recognition of the history of this event,” said Pastor J.J. Lynn of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Etna.

When the tradition began, the telephone pole cross was used to represent modern communication in spreading the message of Jesus.

“So, I figure, next year maybe we’ll have some emojis on or something to try to continue to represent that we, the whole Church, need to be adapting to spread the gospel message with whatever methods of communication we have nowadays,” said Pastor Lynn.

The message is what matters.

“Because I think it’s because of that death that we’re alive in Christ and can carry that message of his grace and his love,” said Erlen.

The hope is the “Way of the Cross” demonstration will bring people closer to Christ.