We gathered, Anglicans and Lutherans, at the first station of the cross on the Via Dolorosa, at 6:30 am, in the early light of day. For about one hour, we journeyed together, stopping to hear scripture and pray at each of the 14 Stations of the Cross under the theme of “The Way of the Cross”. Anglican and Lutheran clergy shared the responsibility for carrying a wooden cross. It was a small cross, but still a chore to carry and walk the distances between stations, up and down the uneven streets of the old city, towards Golgotha.
We were reminded of the encounters with Jesus at each station, from the trial, the receiving of the cross, the three falls along the way and Simone of Cyrene carrying the cross for some of the way. At station 8, Jesus encountered the women of Jerusalem, where according to the Gospel of Luke, He specifically addressed the women who ‘bewailed and lamented’ Him. Each stop along the way of the cross, the leader spoke the words “We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you” to which we the people replied, “Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world”.
It is through the experience that I was reminded of the public humiliation, the indescribable pain and great physical suffering which Jesus was subjected to and our utter failure to put a stop to the torture and death of Jesus.
Many in our world suffer greatly. Our prayers today linked the suffering of Christ with that which we see around our world today. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, we have been given the power to do something and not stand by, as the crowd did on Good Friday, while Jesus made His way through Jerusalem.
And let the people say, “ Christ have mercy”.