Worshippers 'experience' the final hours of Christ

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By Sarah Bennett

Worshippers at Severns Valley Baptist Church on Friday had an opportunity to touch, smell and see Christ’s final hours as part of the Elizabethtown church’s “Good Friday Experience.”


With soft music flowing through the auditorium’s speakers, worshippers walked through a series of eight scenes, each designed to emulate a moment during Christ’s final hours on earth.

Beginning with The Last Supper and concluding with Jesus’ entombment, the multisensory stations were intended to allow worshippers to experience Christ’s betrayal, torture and death.

Participants were encouraged to walk through a garden symbolizing the one in which Jesus was captured and to touch a rough piece of wood and imagine it “jamming” against one’s back.

Joe and Vicky Stewart, who attend services at Sevens Valley, described the program as “overwhelming,” “moving” and a “one-on-one” experience.

Joe Stewart said the Good Friday Experience provides believers with an opportunity to reflect on an event in which they put their faith but don’t know what Christ truly experienced in his last hours.

“Sometimes we lose — much like with Christmas — the meaning of Easter,” he said.

Vicky Stewart added, “We focus on the celebration of Easter and the resurrection, but we need to recognize what Jesus went through.”

Pastor Bill Langley said the organizers intention was for participants to pause and reflect.

The program opened with an introductory reflection and hand washing before proceeding through a hallway bathed in blue lighting and lined with several paintings featuring scenes from scripture. In the auditorium, low lighting and music helped to create an ambiance conducive for reflection, Langley said.

This marks the second year the church on Ring Road has organized the multisensory program. According to Langley, about 2,000 worshippers attended the event in 2012.

On Friday morning, he said a steady trickle of participants made their way through the eight stations, but Langley expected activity to pick up during the lunch and evening hours.

Next year, Langley said organizers may look at expanding the Good Friday Experience to add more scenes.

Sandwiched between Palm Sunday and Easter, the pastor said Good Friday typically is lost during the routine of the church calendar and busy schedules.

“(Jesus) did what we couldn’t do for ourselves,” Langley said about the importance of Good Friday. “He was the perfect sacrifice for our sin.

“There had to be a crucifixion in order for there to be a resurrection.”

Sarah Bennett can be reached at (270) 505-1750 or sbennett@thenewsenterprise.com.