Lehigh Valley

Palm Sunday hits the streets in Bethlehem

Palm Sunday Celebration

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Plenrty of churches preach about Palm Sunday, but one church in Bethlehem actually recreated it on the streets..

Spectators lined Stefko Blvd. and Broad Street -- not for a parade, but to see a savior.

"Today is Palm Sunday," said Marilyn Hartman, pastor at El Shaddai Church.  "The first day of that fateful week in which Jesus was crucified."

El Shaddai took to the streets to reenact Jesus' fabled return to Jerusalem just days before he was crucified.

"He was received as a king," said Hartman.  "They came out with palm branches and they shouted out, 'Hosanna!  Jesus save us.'"

For Ricardo Colon, it was a special honor.

"I play Jesus," he said. 

Although Ricardo admitted, not everything is 100 percent historical.

"When Jesus entered the city, he entered on a donkey, but I'm not brave enough yet for that!", he said.

 Along the way, Jesus performed various miracles, including curing a blind man.

"It's an amazing feeling, being able to walk like -- with Jesus -- so I try to picture how it was in real life," said Jose Ortiz, who performed in the reenactment.

The church says it's a unique way of bringing the Gospel to life.

"It's visual, it's there," said Colon.  "It's a live experience and it touches the hearts of people."

Parishioner Alisha Velez added: "I see hope.  I see that they're looking at something better, something that is not just part of the community but something that is almost like a family."

The pastor said there is a modern-day lesson in Palm Sunday.

"Jesus, knowing that he was going to be crucified -- he went into the city anyway, and sometimes, we need to make those hard decisions for our lives," said Hartman.

A visual inspiration 2,000 years -- and a few city blocks -- in the making.

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