The burial of Jesus in the tomb before his resurrection on Easter Sunday will be re-enacted at a Belfast church this weekend.
In what is a first for Willowfield Church on the Woodstock Road, a large cross and replica tomb will sit outside as a reminder of Jesus’s execution and burial.
Sunday will mark the end of a Holy Week with a difference, during which the church has aimed to bring the story of Easter to life for people who may not normally attend church.
Church rector Reverend David McClay said the event is important in remembering the events which have shaped the Christian faith of today.
“In recreating this scene, we want to bring home to our community and passers-by the awfulness of the cross and the death of Jesus Christ by execution almost 2,000 years ago,” said Rev McClay.
“People are welcome to come and view and spend time at the cross and tomb and the ‘soldiers’ will be happy to talk about their own faith in the risen Christ. 1 Peter 3.18 tells us that Christ died for our sins, once and for everyone, the just one for the unjust one, to bring us to God.”
More than 200 people attended an event on Thursday which saw the enactment of Jesus’s trial when it was decided he would be crucified, Rev McClay said.
“I think people still get Christmas. but all too often the story, significance and real meaning of Easter is lost on a lot of people,” he said.
“The thing that really inspires us is that we want to make the Easter story real to those out in the community who maybe would not normally attend church.”
Members of the public are invited to view and spend time at the site where the volunteer ‘soldiers’ will speak about their faith.
“God reaches towards us as individuals and he reaches towards our community and our city with His love. We see this clearly in His cross and in His death and in His resurrection.”
The model was placed at the site on Good Friday evening and two hours have been set aside, between 10.30am and 12.30pm, for those who want to pray for healing next to the cross.
Willowfield’s sunrise service of worship on Easter Sunday at 6am will be followed by Holy Communion at the tomb, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus.