Hello, welcome to Friday Follow, and my blog. Before reading any further, let me remind you that I am having a cash ($20.00)giveaway on April 30. Please let me know if you’d like to be entered in the drawing by leaving a comment. Enter as many times as you like. Now, on with the story…
I wanted to share the story of this man’s amazing journey with my readers during the week of Easter, but decided to wait until his journey was finished before sharing. I hope you enjoy his story, I know I did…God never ceases to amaze me.
I live in a small southern town, where almost everybody knows everybody, but I don’t know this man personally. However, I do respect and admire him, and would certainly like to meet him someday. His name is Dennis Barnard, and he is a member of the local United Methodist Church.
Last year, around Easter, Dennis Barnard said he felt called by God to construct a large cross and carry it– so that others would see, and remember the significance of Easter. Dennis made a one-day walk, 12 miles long, down Highway 301– the busiest highway around. I had the wonderful experience of seeing Dennis last year, walking beside that busy highway–dressed as Jesus, and carrying the cross on his shoulder. It was not a sight that I will soon forget! Apparently a lot of other people felt the same way. Many people experienced spiritual awakenings as a result of the sight of Dennis dressed like Jesus, carrying that very large cross on his shoulder.
The beams of the cross which Dennis carried were hollowed out, to help lessen the weight, and a small wheel was also installed on the bottom of it. Dennis’ fellow church member, Willie Bland, actually built the cross for Dennis. Willie’s wife, Judy, designed and sewed the Jesus robes and sashes for Dennis. The cross, the robe, Dennis and his long, flowing dark hair, his bearded face–now there is an image guaranteed to get people’s attention!
This year, Dennis felt the call once again, to take up his cross and walk. In addition to reminding the public of the true meaning of Easter, Dennis also hoped to raise some money for Haiti. People were given the opportunity to donate to his church’s Haitian relief fund, in honor of Dennis’ walk.
Dennis took his entire annual vacation from his job to devote to the walk. He planned the walk for Holy Week. Dennis left home on Palm Sunday, March 28, embarking on the pre-planned 250 mile journey all around south Georgia. He left wearing a flowing white robe with a purple sash, his long hair blowing in the wind, carrying a large cross on his shoulder. Dennis planned to walk approximately 25 miles a day.
Dennis stated that the walk “started out sort of rough”, due to the extra 25 pound rucksack attached to the cross which contained supplies. He didn’t know how much help would be available along the way, so he had to be prepared. Dennis didn’t have to worry, because God saw to his needs through the kindness of friends and strangers.
About 20 miles into the trip–on the very first day–it began to rain. Dennis states that he was worn out, and had no place to spend the night, so he asked God for help. It wasn’t long before a friend showed up, and carried that cross for Dennis for the next 2 miles–to give him rest. Next, the owner of a nearby Scottish Inn stopped by and told Dennis that he could spend the night at the inn free of charge. When Dennis arrived at the inn, he was met by a lady offering warm towels and a hot meal. Every day of the 250 mile trip was filled with stories of such kindness–of friends and kind strangers lending a helping hand.
Dennis shared many evangelistic stories of his journey with our local newspaper. Each day brought new experiences, and new people. Once again, people’s lives were changed. Dennis related that “the cross was like a magnet”. People all along the way offered to help him carry the cross. Dennis said the oldest person to carry the cross was 78, while the youngest was only 5. He was furnished a free place to sleep each night, as well as hot meals thanks to many caring people along the way.
Dennis’ walking journey ended on Tuesday, April 8–12 days and 250 miles after it began, when he walked back to his home church, accompanied by many people who joined him on the last leg of his journey. Following his safe arrival at the United Methodist Church, over one-hundred people joined Dennis for prayer.
I think I can safely say “this man exemplified the words of Luke 9:23”- “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambitions, shoulder your cross daily, and follow me.” Simply amazing…
Thanks to One2Try, HeartsMakeFamilies, and Midday Escapades for hosting Friday Follow. I failed to get the Linky to work on this wordpress blog, therefore, no list of followers is showing. Have a great weekend, Kathy