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Holy Land: Last Day (The Rev. Ann Gillespie)

So we began our last day walking the way of the cross. Early in the morning in a light rain, we gather in the courtyard of the College and process in silence into the Old City to the first station on the Via Dolorosa—the way of sorrows. One of us carries the cross, one of us reads the lesson, all of us take in the timeless words of Jesus’ last day, walking in his footsteps as we have from Day 1.

Sunday is the first day of the week for Muslims, so the shops are just beginning to open. Kids are headed to school, fresh sesame breads are for sale, the ubiquitous garbage trollies motor their way through the narrow streets as we pause to recognize Jesus’ falling three times and all the people he encounters on his last painful journey through the Holy City. Other pilgrim bands walk the stations before and after us. Inside one church, we see a statue of Jesus in pieces—it was attacked by an Orthodox Jew a few months ago. The guards of the church were able to wrestle him to the ground before he could do more damage, but the evidence of the tensions in the Holy City is everywhere.

We end our walk, reading the words of the resurrection from Mark, inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, near where the empty tomb sits. There is a Greek Orthodox mass going on so we can’t get inside it, but we stand in the majesty and mystery of it all. Have we finished our journey? Almost. Are we ready to come home? Yes. Have we been challenged and changed and nourished and surprised and found ourselves in a deeper, truer home? Absolutely. –Ann Gillespie+

“…let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new…” –From the Good Friday prayer written by Thomas Aquinas

Walking the Way of the Cross

Statue of Jesus in Pieces

Greek Orthodox Mass at Church of the Holy Sepulcher