‘Nail Your Pain to the Cross’

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San Diego Citadel


Observance of Holy Week at San Diego Citadel Corps (Captains William and Harryette Raihl) includes a Seder Feast as well as the traditional Good Friday, Sunrise and Celebration services. There will be an Easter Cantata by the Songsters, and a children’s Easter egg hunt.

One special observance, a departure from the traditional, is called “Nail Your Pain to the Cross.” “The Citadel Chapel is open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Good Friday,” says Raihl. “People from the community as well as corps members are invited to come any time, where they can write down their pain and physically nail it to a hand hewn, life sized cross at the front of the chapel. Participants may kneel on cushions and pray in silence, leaving their pain with Jesus. This becomes a quiet, inspirational and individual act of worship.”

The chapel is staffed by corps volunteers all through the day who assist those who wish to pray or request special prayer. Slides of the final days of Christ and the crucifixion are projected on a large screen in the front of the chapel with inspirational music playing in the background. Those who come to pray are invited to sign a guest book. When participants leave, they are given an Easter War Cry and a special nail, like the ones used in Christ’s day, with a purple ribbon tied around the center. The nail is for them to remember Christ’s pain for us and that because of this, he can now take ours away.

Those who participate in the “Nail Your Pain to the Cross” are invited to return that evening for the Good Friday Service. At the conclusion of this service, the cards that have been nailed to the cross are removed and placed in a container. The container is placed in the center of the corps’ courtyard and the cards are then burned in the container, to symbolize that Christ has taken the pain away.

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