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Living out the Crucifixion of Jesus

RALEIGH — It was their cross to bear on Good Friday.

In commemoration of the day Jesus of Nazareth was crucified by Roman soldiers, members of Northpark Church's congregation - teens, women and men - braved the cold, drizzling rain to mount a wooden cross in 30-minute intervals in front of a banner that read: "He Took Your Place."

Arms outstretched and tied to the crossbeams, each stood in turn on the tiny platform even after the heavens opened up and cried down upon them.

"Our main thing is to just make Jesus famous in our city," said Anthony Braswell, Northpark's pastor.

The daylong, personalized passion play began at 7 a.m. on Glenwood Avenue, several miles west of Crabtree Valley Mall.

Northpark Church, with a congregation numbering 150, holds its services at Hilburn Drive Elementary School, 7100 Hilburn Drive. They began the Good Friday re-enactments four years ago as part of the church's outreach, which Braswell described as "servolution."

While waiting their turn, volunteers handed out invitations to their Easter service on Sunday to motorists who stopped. Along with that invite came a CD, "The Invitation," that's narrated by best-selling author and pastor Rick Warren.

"We want people to see that (the Crucifixion) was a real thing. Jesus died for us," Braswell said. "We wanted to demonstrate that we are familiar with what he did for us."

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