LIHUE — Look happy, Pastor Steve Rex told the 75 people circled around him Friday evening.
“Be the light of Jesus,” he said. “We want to reflect him.”
They did their best.
As the crowd walked from the Lihue Civic Center to Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall, where a Good Friday Service was set to begin at 7, they laughed, smiled and waved to passersby who honked their horns.
Chase Gushi was the second to carry the wooden cross, passed on by Pastor Vill Galiza.
Gushi held it high and looked straight ahead as he walked on Rice Street.
“Giving it to God,” he said. “Laying it at his feet because he died for my sins and he died for yours, too. He died for everyone around the world.” He urged others to “seek him first.”
Rex said carrying the cross is part of the Christian faith in the resurrection that will be celebrated Easter Sunday.
“Without the resurrection, we wouldn’t have any hope. The whole purpose of Jesus dying on the cross was to pay the price for our sins,” Rex said.
About half of Americans plan to go to church on Easter Sunday, according to a 2018 National Retail Federation study. That’s more than how many will usually sit in a church pew on a weekend.
A 2016 Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 77 percent of American adults believe Jesus Christ was the son of God sent to Earth to die for the sins of people. Fourteen percent didn’t believe that to be true, the survey found.
Either way, churches around Kauai will reach out Sunday with services beyond their sanctuary walls, at beaches, parks, and resorts. They will have special music and messages as they proclaim, “He is Risen.”
There will be dance, drama and decorations. Churches will keep it going after services, too. Some will offer free luaus, egg hunts and breakfasts.
Ohana Christian Fellowship is having its “Day of Hope” from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Kapaa Beach Park on Easter Sunday. There will be free lunch, music, haircuts, clothing and household goods, prizes, an egg hunt and activities for keiki.
“In a sense, this is like the church Super Bowl,” Rex said. “It’s the big event of the year, it’s the biggest Sunday of the year. This is the time of year people are going to bring people that don’t know Jesus. They’re going to bring their family, they’re probably going to bribe them with a big meal afterwards. But this is the opportunity where everybody comes to church.”
John Small with Jesus Reigns Ministry said he wanted to be at Friday’s crosswalk to share his faith in that Christ rose from the dead, three days after being crucified some 2,000 years ago.
‘I want to be here to thank him, to celebrate and to declare to Kauai, declare to the world, that he is alive, that he reigns, and he wants to bless us and save us. That’s why he came.”