Journey to the cross speaks into the heart of the city
Sydney’s CBD was brought to a standstill on Good Friday. In the Martin Place amphitheatre, Jesus and his disciples shared their last moments together.
Jesus is sentenced and beaten. There is betrayal, anguish, heartache, anxiety and denial among his followers. Gathering his cross he shuffles ahead, stumbling and crying out. It is a sombre time. Eyes focus on this man much as they did 2000 years ago.
Witnessing and following this heart wrenching event are more than 1000 people, stretching from Martin Place along Pitt Street. The beat of the Roman drum drives Jesus on to his place of crucifixion. His mother Mary cries and is comforted… but there is little solace.
Modern-day tourists, families and police watch intently. The drama of the journey to the cross unfolds, speaking into hearts and minds of the puzzled and curious. Children ask their parents about the meaning of the occasion. Some are drawn in and swept along by the rising tide of emotion.
Twenty-five year old Brendan Paul plays Jesus. His journey leads him to the Wesley Centre and the Stocklands building where he is crucified on a balcony overlooking Pitt Street. “It is finished,” he cries. The large crowd below sigh. Jesus then later appears to his disciples and friends. It is the hopeful Easter message of ‘broken made new’ made live in the public square.
A soloist begins singing Amazing Grace and is soon joined by 1000 voices embracing the sweet sound of grace “that saved a wretch like me.” A slice of heaven: a public chorus unified in one voice through the generous love of Christ.
For more than 50 years Wesley Mission has been taking the good news of the Easter message to Sydney and beyond.
“The contemporary drama of the Good Friday procession in the city CBD engages people with the person and character of Jesus Christ,” said Wesley Mission Superintendent the Rev Keith Garner.
“The event is an opportunity to proclaim the good news in the marketplace and for people to reflect upon the message of God’s generous love found in Jesus Christ. Easter is a time when people are open to the narrative and can reflect upon the Easter message of broken lives longing to be made new. It is a message that speaks into the lives of Australians who long to know they are loved and that there is a bigger story into which they fit.
“The Good Friday drama in Martin Place and the procession as crowds follow Jesus is a bold but solemn interruption to a city pre-occupied with wealth, power and status. The office towers, banks and shops fall silent to the hushed whispers of tourists and holidaymakers who ask ‘who is this man?’.”
A worship service followed with the Pitt street crowd packing the Wesley Centre. Voices were once more combined as one.
Wesley Mission will host a series of powerful Easter events, re-enactments and worship services and events during Holy Week 2017.