Via Dolorosa…. Last Night

Just thinking….

The Hubs and I did something last night that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. Our little community holds a walk on Good Friday….. a 2 hour silent walk through the town with stops to sing and pray and read Scripture recalling the passion of Jesus. I thought of this song while we were walking:

Down the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem that day
The soldiers tried to clear the narrow street
But the crowd pressed in to see
The Man condemned to die on Calvary

He was bleeding from a beating, there were stripes upon His back
And He wore a crown of thorns upon His head
And He bore with every step
The scorn of those who cried out for His death

Down the Via Dolorosa called the way of suffering
Like a lamb came the Messiah, Christ the King,
But He chose to walk that road out of
His love for you and me.
Down the Via Dolorosa, all the way to Calvary.
The blood that would cleanse the souls of all men
Made its way through the heart of Jerusalem.

I’m sure the walk was different for every person there. A local politician, a lawyer, some teachers, a real estate agent and auctioneer, black and white, babies in arms and strollers, crippled elderly, unusually subdued teens, families, factory workers, farmers, shop keepers, waitresses, pastors, street workers, unemployed, the mayor, Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Assembly, Independent Christian, liberal and conservative: the walk was taken by about 300 assorted images of humanity.

Why were they there? Were they told to show up? Was it for gain? To be seen? Curiosity? Holiness? Not only were we a varied group, but our motives were probably just as varied. I can probably rule out walking for the fun of it, though. The evening was cold, damp, raw, windy. The route was not a smooth street. I doubt anyone was there for a pleasant stroll and exercise. I came for the experience, and came away in awe, in tears, in thanksgiving.

About the route: We began by a furniture store and proceeded up the main street of town. A local man in white robes carried a heavy wooden cross. He was flanked by other locals dressed as Roman soldiers. We fell in behind. The city police department cleared the streets and blocked the intersections so that we could walk safely. The city streets are old. Some were pocked by pot holes. It had rained just a short time before we left and puddles were in the street. Splashes of water, like blood drops, spattered the streets. We walked through an alley and down a road that was once a major highway through the town.

We passed and stopped by shops, restaurants, the courthouse, a lawyer’s office, the black church, a white church, the jail, the school, the library, a theatre. When we read about the soldiers gambling for Jesus’s clothing, we were outside the second hand clothing consignment store. When we read about Jesus being put into the tomb, we were by the cemetery monument factory. We passed nice big houses with manicured lawns, and we passed section 8 housing. All along the route, the curious peeked out. Once in a while one would fall in with us.

We walked in silence, and I found that I reflected in a deeper way on what my Lord had done on that Good Friday long ago, and why He willingly walked to Golgotha . Did He stumble along the way? Did His legs grow weary? Did He notice the people watching, the ones who followed? Did he hear the dogs in the distance, the muted sounds of traffic?

God so loved the world….. Jesus died for that world: a world of people so different from each other, yet all needing a Savior. A world of people who followed Him for different reasons and motives, and also for those who didn’t follow. A world of young and old, black and white, rich and poor, men and women. A world of people who were curious, jeering, respectful, sorrowing. A world similar to our 300 who walked last night and those who sat and watched. Jesus paid the price for every one of them, whether they chose to accept it or not.

Jesus met humanity where they were: in the temple, at dinner, in the market place. Our route reflected that, as we passed by the places where our community was found every day, doing ordinary daily activities of life.

One place tore at my heart. We were in front of the jail, and the Scripture was about Jesus coming to set the captive free. We listened to the reading in hushed silence and then began to sing a verse of “The Old Rugged Cross.” Suddenly a bird began to chirp and sing, trilling along with our voices. Yes, Jesus came to give hope even to those with no hope in prison. And He came to give hope to those who had fashioned their own prisons.

As we ended the walk with readings of Jesus being taken down off the cross and placed in the tomb, sirens began to sound. Two ambulances came through the street, wailing and flashing. I thought of how Jesus died, with no ambulance to come to his aid, without even many people around him to mourn.

Thank You, Father, for the gift of Your Son. May I never lose sight of His suffering, because He willingly took on my suffering. May I never lose sight of His love for this world and its many people. May I never lose sight of His passion and triumph over death to secure my eternal life. May Good Friday always remind me of His depth and scope. May I always remember that Sunday is coming!!!!!!!!! Give me strength and determination to pass it on. Amen.

To God be the glory…..

Published in: on April 11, 2009 at 4:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

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