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Hammered into the metal of old oil drums are images depicting the story of Christ's Crucifixion and Resurrection.

But the images also serve as a reminder that our own prayers and actions can carry forward the lessons Jesus taught so long ago, explains Pastor Rhonda Bostrom as she walks alongside the newly erected 15 Stations of the Cross behind Sheridan Lutheran Church, 70th Street and Old Cheney Road.

Located along the sloping pathway around the outdoor columbarium just behind the church, the display is free to the public at all times.

However, on Sunday, the church will host guided tours of the Stations of the Cross each half-hour between 9:30 a.m. and noon. The tours will include talks about the artwork and suggestions on how to use these pieces in prayer and self-reflection, Bostrom said.

Typically, the Stations of the Cross are found in Catholic parishes. But Sheridan Lutheran commissioned the work from Haitian artisans because of the church's long history of ministering to the country's poor.

The artwork bridges the divide between the Christian cultures, Bostrom said.

The pieces, purchased for a mere $640, were hand-pounded, cut and imprinted by artisans in Haiti's Iron Market. Using hammers and mallets, the artists begin by flattening the thick oil drum. Using nails and other hard objects, the artists tap dots and dashes in flowing lines and swirls, adding dimension and emotion to the images of Jesus carrying the cross.

Although the story depicted is the same among Christians worldwide, the artistic renderings are infused with symbols of Haitian culture: flowers signifying hope and beauty in the midst of Christ's suffering, and crows signifying oppression, torment and suffering.

The pieces mounted on wooden posts line a scenic, lit walkway overlooking the church pond.

Beneath each sculpture is a plaque with two inscriptions. The first explains the image; the second suggests prayers for contemporary concerns.

Beneath the image of Jesus being stripped is the suggested prayer:

"Remember those sisters and brothers who have been stripped of their dignity."

Beneath the image of Jesus nailed to the cross:

"Remember those who find themselves trapped in difficult situations and see no way out."

The suggestions are meant to encourage visitors to pray and reflect on what Jesus' message means for today's world, Bostrom said.

"It's a way to encourage us to think about those areas of life we wouldn't normally think about ... a chance to reflect on things," she said.

And this place in the quiet of nature is a perfect spot "to pay attention to the holy," Bostrom said. "A chance to hear God speak in places you don't normally do."

Reach Erin Andersen at 473-7217 or



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