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Symbolism of the Way of the Cross

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The Way of the Cross is particularly important in Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran traditions. It is celebrated on Good Friday. The Catholic community participate by carrying the Cross and moving while reciting prayers. Meanwhile, the Anglican and Lutherans join in the procession. It is normally accompanied with prayers. As Christians get to some designated points (the 14 stations) where the crowd gaits, and of the leaders says a prayer before they actually move on. Agnes Kasemiire spoke to various religious leaders who share their take on what the way of the Cross symbolises.

Rev Canon Dr Rebecca Nyegenye of All Saints Cathedral, Nakasero Kampala, notes that Jesus walked quite a distance before He was crucified on the Cross.

So, when Christians walk the Way of the Cross, they are just emulating the way Jesus moved before He died for us.

“It is a journey of faith and along the way we have to win souls for Christ,” Nyegenye says.

She adds that just like Jesus stopped at the 14 different stations to pray and preach, Christians emulate the Way of the Cross, they are supposed to stop and preach to crowds in order to win souls for Him.

It shows that they are part of their calling as fishers of men, as they win people to Him.

Redemption, sacrifice
Rev Fr Ronald Mayanja of Kitovu Catholic in Masaka agrees with Rev Nyegenye, describing the Way of the Cross as the way to salvation.

“Jesus carried the Cross for us and it is an indication of true love, when we participate and carry the Cross.

“It is a way through which Jesus revealed His love for humanity,” he says.

He also further cautions that we should not be spiritually passive and not be bothered thinking that Jesus paid it all.
We have a part to play as Christians. He says we should also imitate Christ as an example and we should not fear carrying our crosses daily.

He stresses that Jesus became a sacrifice for our sins through the way of the Cross.

Isaiah 53:4: “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted.”

Ugandan Christians observe the Way of the Cross as part of their Easter celebration. (Photo/Daily Monitor)

Way to redemption
According to the Catholic doctrines, the Way of the Cross symbolises sacrifice, suffering, repentance, solidarity, and exclusion. These are belived to be pathways to redemption.

Divine love
Rev Canon Micheal Mukhwana of St Andrews Church, Bukoto, says the Way of the Cross symbolises the whole story of divine love.

“Every time we see the Cross, it sends the message of unconditional divine love. It is on the Cross that God’s love and justice was actually met,” he says.

He further notes that every time the Catholics, Anglicans and Lutherans carry that Cross, they are making a statement that we are one body.

According to Mukhwana, the Way of the Cross is a good religious activity because people pray into the situation, but also raise awareness of what Christ went through for us.

Being a community event, it is one way of taking Church to the community.

Rev Janet Kayondo of Bugolobi Resurrection Church thinks the Way of the Cross is just a reminder that Jesus Christ died on the Cross and went through agony.

It is meant to remind people what Jesus Christ went through in order to save mankind.

The importance is to remind us that Jesus Christ had to suffer.

It was not easy for Him to give up His life for us and die for our sins.

He was stoned, which implies that our salvation is not as easy as we think, and whenever we sin, we take Him back to that suffering.

“He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53: 5).

Rev Kayondo further describes the action of moving with a Cross as a journey, meaning that as Christians we have to carry crosses on our journey on earth.

It is meant to remind people that each of us has to carry their own Cross as they navigate through life, with Jesus Christ being our guide.

As Jesus carried His Cross, we also have to carry our own as we follow Him.

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