Spokane Valley Presents Journey to the Cross

May 01, 2008 | Kathy Marson

More than 1,200 guests, 200 actors, numerous musicians, three nights, and one goal—to experience the Journey to the Cross, a journey through the final scenes of Jesus' life. After 10 hours of practice, the cast was ready for the guests who came Friday–Sunday for three hours each evening of Easter weekend. Through it all, many developed a closer relationship with Jesus, and guests wanted to know more about following Jesus.

At the event, guests participated in the triumphal entry, saw Jesus heal the woman who touched His garment, and marveled at how He looked at those who hailed Him as their king.

The outdoor experience began as the tour group came down a bark-filled path, and were met by a woman claiming Jesus healed her. She told the group, "Jesus is in Jerusalem, come and see Him!" Jesus came down the street surrounded by children and adults waving palm branches and shouting "Hosanna to the Son of David, this is our King!" Some in the tour groups joined in, experiencing the event for themselves. The joy of the crowd was silenced as Jesus turned over the money-changers' table.

Guests watched the Last Supper and the betrayal of Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. They saw the trial in Pilate's court and Jesus on the cross.

The agony of hanging on the cross was felt by those who played Jesus at this scene. Russell Huggins and Kenny Knight took turns portraying Jesus hanging on the cross. While most of the actors could dress warmly under their costume, they had only a body suit to protect them from the near-freezing, windy night air.

"It was cold, but it was worth it," says Huggins. "Thinking of His anguish, knowing I put him there, got to me... It was truly an honor and an emotional experience to portray Jesus."

At the tomb an angel told Mary, the mother of Jesus, that He rose from the tomb. Tears turned to mutual exuberance. In the final scene, the disciples were in the Upper Room when Jesus suddenly appeared to them for the first time after the resurrection.

This was a labor of love for members of the Spokane Valley (Wash.) Church and many surrounding churches. "We had a vision to do something for our community," says Byron Corbett, pastor. "This has been a defining moment for our congregation."

Cast and crew unanimously voiced their desire to continue the event next year.