Much discussion at the moment amongst ‘Christians Together in Stirling’ folk about whether to hold a Walk of Witness in the city on Good Friday or not. In previous years, this ecumenical event has begun with a service at Holy Trinity, followed by a group of people walking behind a large cross, stopping en route for Scripture readings and hymns.
I can understand the motivation: it it publicly declaring our faith, demonstrating a measure of Christian unity (though only we would know that, I suppose), telling something of the story of the Passion.
On the other hand, it seems to get slower every year, the readings are probably unintelligible (not to say barely audible) to most passers-by who have no familiarity with the context, and the solemn nature of the day must convey a rather miserable picture of Christianity.
I suspect that to do these things well, you need a lot more resourcing and planning than we can put in – a full-scale Passion Play might work, but I’m not sure that there is much impact from a straggling line of Christians who don’t know whether to chat or be silent, to engage with passers-by or just make a procession, to read the Passion or try to convey its significance for today.
I love the early-morning praise that the same group offers on the Castle Esplanade on Easter morning, and I think it would probably say more to those ‘beyond the Church walls’ than the Good Friday walk. Somehow, the Passion calls me to inward-looking; I want to be quiet in church. The only time I have found it a key time of outreach was when I was a chaplain at Cornton Vale Women’s Prison. The chapel was full on Good Friday; largely avoided on Easter Sunday.