It has been a very full and very rich day. Early this morning we left on foot for the Old City and the traditional route of the Via Dolorosa- the Way of the Cross. I did not grow up with the Stations of the Cross and have done it only a handful of times. But doing it here, in Jerusalem, at the end of this class, in this context and with this group of people, I really got it. It was meaningful to me in a way it never has been before.
The last four stations are actually meant to be done in Holy Sepulchre church, but no Protestants are among the groups allowed to do liturgy there (Armenian, Syrian, Coptic, Ethiopian, Greek Orthodox, Catholic, for those of you keeping track at home). Anyone can go there and pray there as an individual, but only those groups can do liturgy there. So we did the final stations on the roof. The day was beautiful and so was the experience.
We went to Emmaus afterwards to celebrate the resurrection and have our final Eucharist together. We also had opportunity for small group reflection. Using imagery from the story of loaves and fishes on the one hand, and recognizing Jesus on the Emmaus road on the other, Rodney posed two questions. One, what has multiplied for each of us over the course of this class – what do we have more of? And two, what have we recognized during this experience? It was so meaningful to sit with these friends and talk about the depth of our learnings over our time together. Then breaking bread and sharing wine in Holy Communion overlooking the valley of Emmaus was absolutely lovely.
It is hard to believe that it is over and that tomorrow I am heading home. I can’t wait to see Emma and Keelyn, but it is also sad to leave this place. I have so loved being in Jerusalem; I have felt a deep sense of peace, contentment and grounding walking the streets of this city, even though it is not a place of peace.
My reflections and learnings will continue to bear fruit, this I know. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity. Please pray for me as I enter into the long journey home tomorrow.