When Will It Stop?

George Floyd (May 25, 2020). Breonna Taylor (March 13, 2020). Ahmaud Arbery (February 23, 2020).

Most people in the United States (and many people around the world) are watching right now as protests, both violent and non-violent, sweep the country. President Trump apparently feels very safe in the White House guarded (in his words) by the most vicious dogs he has ever seen and awesome weaponry in the hands of his Secret Service detail; young men and women ready for a little action. Black Americans feel no such security.

George FloydThe violent death of George Floyd, handcuffed and pinned to the ground with a police officer’s knee on his neck for an extended time, has stoked simmering anger into a boiling rage. Some community members have chosen the way of Martin Luther King, Jr. and organized peaceful but forceful protests. Others have chosen the way of Malcolm X, using violence to vent their anger and disrupt social systems.

When will it stop? Who will be next? And where?

Police brutality must stop. So must red-neck vigilantism. So must political dog-whistling. So must educational disparities in schools and universities. So must the silence of so many Christian pastors. So must economic injustices. So must “white privilege.” So must inequalities when it comes to legal representation.

The tragic and heartbreaking death of George Floyd, described by his brother as a modern-day lynching, is the fruit of sustained and systemic racism.

Psychologists at Harvard University, the University of Virginia, and the University of Washington have developed what they call “Implicit Association Tests (IATs).” Here’s what they say:

Hidden Bias Tests measure unconscious, or automatic, biases. Your willingness to examine your own possible biases is an important step in understanding the roots of stereotypes and prejudice in our society.

The ability to distinguish friend from foe helped early humans survive, and the ability to quickly and automatically categorize people is a fundamental quality of the human mind. Categories give order to life, and every day we group other people into categories based on social and other characteristics.

This is the foundation of stereotypes, prejudice and, ultimately, discrimination.

Here’s their fundamental premise. We are all inclined, whether by nature or nurture, to categorize and be suspicious of other groups of people. For example, think of common refrains from many politicians and media regarding black Americans, Muslims, and undocumented Hispanic immigrants.

When will the suspicion, isolation, and violence stop? Only when national leaders and media are held to account for their dog-whistling, when churches and Christian organizations confront this cancer in their own ranks, and when homes and families begin to confess their hidden (or not so hidden) biases that deny human dignity and value to some groups of people.

When will it stop?

Not until the Gospel of the Kingdom of God really grips our hearts and drives us to the causes of justice, equality, and compassion.

If a crisis is also an opportunity, then the story of George Floyd is a potential pathway to change and reconciliation, but only if the people of God stand up. Secularism has no compelling ethic. But it will take more than clarity. We have that. It may also require cost and unprecedented courage from Christian parents, pastors, and professors alike. We have One who has shown the way.

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Day 40: The Fifth Gospel

Sixteen hundred years ago, Saint Jerome (347-420 AD) reportedly said: “Five gospels record the life of Jesus. Four you will find in books and one you will find in the land they call Holy. Read the fifth gospel and the world of the four will open to you.

Pilgrims have traveled to Israel ever since to read “the fifth gospel.”

Mount Nebo (2)It’s much more than gathering data, taking pictures, learning dates, or scrambling over ruins. The land itself has a sacred character. Of course, it’s entirely possible to miss God’s presence in the land, to rush past it, be too tired to notice it, or too distracted to hear it. That is common.

Furthermore, the events described in Scripture are written not to satisfy our historical curiosity but to guide our moral, ethical, and spiritual formation. The stories of the Bible invite us to be participants, not mere observers. The land of Israel does something similar.

When land and text are integrated, it’s like turning up the volume or, more accurately, tuning in to a sharper frequency. Scripture without the land is somewhat monochromatic, but the land without Scripture is just more geography; more mountains, pastures, rivers, and trees. Combined and aligned we encounter the fifth gospel.

Is this not true of our lives in general?

Places hold memories, for both good and ill. Homes and backyards, parks and roadways can hold a piece of us. Our own groundedness comes from connection with our past and our memories. Sometimes we must leave a place; it has taken too much from us. But the next place invites us to stay, to engage, and to grow. If the Bible teaches us anything, it is that places matter to God. There is no sharp separation of the physical from the spiritual, Consider the intimate connection of the two, at so many levels, even in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Consider what happened and where.

When Jesus came to take the sin of the world upon himself, he did not use social media or video conferencing. He did not broadcast his ministry like a reality television show. He came to a place, a small part of this planet, and God did what God does. He took the ordinary and the non-spectacular and changed the world.

If you’ve been to Israel, good for you. If you get to travel there one day as a pilgrim, wonderful. But if you are tucked in some other small part of the world — a house, an apartment, a high-rise block of units — that place is also sacred because God is with you there, and nothing is ordinary in his hands.

The fifth gospel. It’s not just the land of Israel. It’s also the land where you live; the place and people you know for whom the good news of Jesus has particular and unique relevance.

Each of us is a herald of the old gospel in a new place … our place. May God bless “the land” again, for his glory.

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Day 39: Mount Nebo

At 2,651 feet above sea level, Mount Nebo sits high on a ridge in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan overlooking the Jordan Valley and the northern end of the Dead Sea. On a clear day, you can easily see Jericho across the Jordan River and sometimes even Jerusalem beyond it in the far west.

Mount NeboThe final chapter of Deuteronomy says that after leading Israel for forty years of wandering in the wilderness, Moses went up on Mount Nebo and the Lord showed him all the promised land that the Israelites would inhabit, and then this: “I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there. So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab…and God buried him…but no man knows his burial place to this day” (Deuteronomy 34:4-6).

Centuries later, according to 2 Maccabees 2:4-7 (written about 124 BC), the prophet Jeremiah hid the tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant in a cave on Mount Nebo, never to be found. Then, in the 4th century AD a Byzantine church and monastery was built on the mountain-top to honor Moses. Enlarged a hundred years later and rebuilt in 597 AD, it has stunning floor mosaics that have been uncovered and restored. But just outside the church building, on the edge of the mountain, stands a much more recent addition; a tall sculpture; The Bronze Serpent (pictured) by Italian artist Giovanni Fantoni.

The sculpture recalls the unusual story in Numbers 21:4-9 when the Israelites complained in the wilderness against God (again) and God sent fiery serpents to bite and kill them. In a most rare instance, the Lord told Moses to fashion a bronze serpent and put it on a pole. Whoever would look to the serpent on the pole would live.

Later, Jesus referred to this incident when he said: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that whoever believes in him will have eternal life” (John 3:14-15).

Mount Nebo is an extraordinary site.

It marks the end of Moses’ leadership and the transition to Joshua. It offers panoramic views of the Promised Land. And today it includes The Bronze Serpent that speaks not only to a plague among the ancient Israelites but the cross of Good Friday and the new Moses who promises eternal life.

As I write this, it is Good Friday morning and we are in the midst of a global pandemic (COVID-19). All around the world, economies are shut down, communities and cities are house-bound, and people continue to die. This global pandemic might also serve as a metaphor for the pandemic of sin that has touched every man and woman since Adam and Eve.

Mount Nebo calls us to deep reflection and humble response. The pilgrim can stand beside the chapel and look through The Bronze Serpent to Jerusalem in the distance where Christ was lifted up to save us from destruction.

In our crisis, will we believe in him, our Moses?

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Day 38: Sheep and Shepherds

They pop up everywhere throughout the countryside of Israel. Mixed flocks of sheep and goats with their shepherd nearby. The goats are good for milk, and the sheep provide wool for clothing. Both are good for meat, at the appropriate time.

There’s something a little disjointed about flying along a major road at 60 miles per hour and passing sheep and shepherds off to the side. Pilgrims, whether on foot, horseback, or Shepherdin tour coaches, have seen plenty of this over the centuries. This pastoral scene was even more prominent in the days of Jesus.

It looks very leisurely and slow-paced. The sheep and shepherd are in no hurry. They wander here and there grazing wherever they can find a patch or leaf of green, mostly without the restriction of fences. The life of a shepherd would feel very quiet and isolated for most of us. But the shepherd has considerable responsibility.

Ironically, the One who grew up as “the son of a carpenter” (Matthew 13:55) describes himself as “the good shepherd” (John 10:11) and is later described as the Great Shepherd (Hebrews 13:20). We know this of a good shepherd:

  1. He calls his sheep by name (John 10:3).
  2. He knows his sheep (John 10:4, 14).
  3. He leads and goes before his sheep (John 10:4).
  4. He provides for his sheep (John 10:9).
  5. He protects his sheep (John 10:17).
  6. He speaks to his sheep (John 10:4, 14).
  7. He does not lose his sheep (Matthew 18:11-12).
  8. He carries the feeble sheep (Luke 15:5).

Remarkably, rather than insisting on being the Shepherd only, Jesus also became the Lamb. John the Baptizer called him “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Peter likened him to the Passover lamb (1 Peter 1:19) and twenty-one times the Apostle John called him “the Lamb that was slain” (Revelation 5:12 et al).

This simple and common pastoral scene provided rich imagery and deep meaning for Christ and all those who would follow him.

Even today in our churches we use the title Pastor which comes from the Latin noun pastor meaning “shepherd.” The role of the pastor/shepherd was first and foremost to know, to care, and to protect the sheep. Ponder again the list (the job description!) above.

Much like Jesus, sometimes we are the shepherd and sometimes we are the sheep. We too are called to care for each other, even as we follow the Great Shepherd who names us, speaks to us, and leads us. To whom might you be the shepherd today; not the sheep-trader or the merchant, but the shepherd?

If the sheep were running at 60 miles per hour alongside the main roads (which would be something to behold!) it’s unlikely that they’d even know they had a shepherd. Our Great Shepherd is never in the same hurry that we seem to be. Would it be worth slowing down a little to hear, to be helped, to be healed, and sometimes even to be carried by him?

Sheep and shepherds. They are ubiquitous throughout Israel, perhaps for good reason. Of all biblical imagery we may need this most often.

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Day 37: Yad Vashem

Yad Vashem, a phrase taken from Isaiah 56:5, is Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. The phrase means “a monument and name.”

The memorial, established in 1953, covers 44.5 acres and is a complex of research buildings, memorials, museums, a library, a publishing house, gardens, and much more. It keeps alive the memory of over six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust (literally, “a Yad Vashemburned offering; destruction by fire”) in World War II. Visited by 1,000,000 people each year, it is the second most visited site in Israel, after the Western Wall.

The founders and patrons of Yad Vashem also honor non-Jews who, at personal risk and without a financial or evangelistic motive, chose to save Jews from the ongoing genocide during the Holocaust. These non-Jews, awarded the special title Righteous Among the Nations, are honored in a dedicated garden known as the Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations.

The place bustles with people. Inside the main memorial building, visitors take a self-guided and self-paced meandering path past graphic display after graphic display, culminating in the Hall of Names. During the Holocaust, so many of the Jews were burned or buried in mass graves without any dignity or designation. The Hall of Names is a large high-ceiling, sunken-floor circular room that houses an extensive collection of “Pages of Testimony” – short biographies of each Holocaust victim who has been meticulously identified and studied over the past 75 years.

People walk through Yad Vashem mostly in silence. The displays have plenty of photographs, captions, and descriptions. Certain spots have looping videos. Some guests feel overwhelmed by the experience. Such cruelty on display. The place evokes tears, silence, and solemnity.

This is not a typical stop for Christian pilgrims. It commemorates a Jewish tragedy — really a human tragedy — just 75 years ago. It has no biblical link. But so much of Yad Vashem speaks to the soul.

Yad Vashem highlights the unthinkable possibility that lies within us all. Genocide is not the work of the ultra-evil, but of ordinary people acting with common human depravity; people who let a leader’s promise of prosperity, and appeal to fear, sway them from righteousness. We are all capable of being those people.

Yad Vashem reminds us of the sanctity of every human life. The Hall of Names declares that every person has a story, short or long, that deserves honor and respect.

Yad Vashem even declares the Gospel truth that righteousness is for all the nations. The Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations declares something so fundamental about the Gospel and the Kingdom of God.

Yad Vashem affirms the importance of remembering. Our present and our future is profoundly shaped by the past.

Is this not what the Lord’s Table is also all about? A reminder of our sin, of how much God loves and values every human life, and that the Gospel is for all nations. The Table calls us to remember the past, specifically Christ and the Cross.

Yad Vashem is a Jewish memorial with uncanny connections to our Christian memorial.

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Day 36: Mosques and Minarets

Israel is a land of pluralism. Dotted around the country wherever there’s an Arab Muslim community, one sees mosques and minarets. Mosques are the Islamic places of worship for a local community. The minarets are the tall towers beside or attached to the mosques from which the muezzin (“crier”) calls the faithful to prayer five times each day.

Mosque (2)In the past, the muezzin would climb winding and narrow staircases inside the minaret, stand on the small balcony, and cry out the melodic call. These days it’s often a recording blared through loudspeakers attached to wires running haphazardly up the outside of the minaret. One does wonder why, with the beauty and effort in the architecture, somebody doesn’t run an electrical conduit up the inside of the minaret, but frequently that’s not the case.

The mosques and minarets, even throughout Jerusalem, remind us that Israel is a place of great significance for Muslims, Jews, and Christians alike. It has been that way for many centuries.

But the mosques and minarets provoke deep questions for the Christian pilgrim. They serve to challenge our views of Jesus, his claims, and his purpose.

Judaism recognizes Jesus as a good man and a rabbi (teacher). Islam takes it a step further and recognizes Jesus as a prophet. But Christianity stands alone in recognizing Jesus as the Son of God, the final Prophet, and King.

Jesus said of himself: “I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me” (John 14:6). The early church understood this claim to exclusivity and preached, “There is salvation in no one else (other than Christ); for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Good man or God? Rabbi or redeemer? Teacher or Savior? Religious leader or resurrected Lord? These are the fundamental differentiators of Christianity.

The mosques and minarets beckon us to answer again the most fundamental question of them all: “Who, exactly, is Jesus?”

It is not just a question for academics and scholars. Nor is it just a question for religious leaders and theologians. It is, rather, the core question that each of us must answer for ourselves. Our answer to that question determines everything.

If Jesus Christ is less than what historic Christianity has consistently asserted, if he is less than the divine and risen Savior of the world, if he is but one way among many ways to God and one voice among many voices about God, then choose any religion you like. There’s room for Jesus in Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and Judaism. But if he is Lord – a term of utter exclusivity – then everything changes.

The pluralism of modern Israel is not different than the pluralism in Jesus’ day. The first century Jews were surrounded by Graeco-Roman religion, mystery religions, eastern religions and more. But Christ came into that world and called them, as he does us, to make a choice.

“Who, exactly, is Jesus?” Who do we say that he is? And how then should we live?

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Day 35: The Garden Tomb

Since the 4th century the crucifixion and burial of Christ had always been associated with the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. However, in 1842 Otto Thenius, a German theologian and bible scholar, proposed that a rocky knoll just 1600 feet (500 meters) north of the church and 600 feet north of the Damascus Gate, was a likely alternative Golgothasite. Thenius looked at the small hill and believed that its natural cavities and a man-made cave made it look like eye-sockets, a nose, and a mouth; a skull.

Mark 15:22 says that they took Jesus “to Golgotha which is translated Place of the Skull” to crucify him. Incidentally, Calvary is the Latin equivalent of the Greek Golgotha.

Others scholars subsequently reinforced Thenius’ conjecture by noting this outcrop’s proximity to the Damascus Gate of the Old City. As we know, crucifixions were often on main thoroughfares, and the major road to Damascus led out of that Gate just 200 yards away. And local tradition had associated that hill with executions over the centuries.

Finally, John’s Gospel tells us that “at the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid” (John 19:41). In 1867, archaeologists unearthed an ancient wine-press and a rock-hewn tomb adjacent to this proposed Golgotha.Garden Tomb

Could this have been the tomb of Christ?

Today, this Golgotha has a bus terminal at its base, a Muslim mosque tucked against its eastern corner, and a Muslim cemetery on top. At the very least, this site is a wonderful commemorative site for Christian pilgrims, and 400,000 visitors come here each year.

There’s something very appropriate about the re-purposing of the hill and the nearby vacant tomb. As the angels said to the women on that Sunday morning when they went to the tomb to prepare the body, “He is not here, but he has risen” (Luke 24:6).

The Garden Tomb is not just a place for somber reflection, but joy. Unlike the burial places of all other major military, political, and religious leaders throughout history, this was not the end of an era, but the start of one. The resurrected Christ was held by neither the cross nor the grave.

The Garden Tomb, dated by some to the 7th century BC, is open for visitors to walk into. Inside are benches for bodies, but nobody there. One can only wonder how shocking it must have been that Sunday morning as the women arrived, saw the stone rolled back, popped their heads inside, and saw not the rigid body of the dead Rabbi, but two men in dazzling clothing (angels) announcing his resurrection.

Mark’s Gospel originally finished with the words, “The women went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had gripped them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid” (Mark 16:8). That’s certainly not how we expect the story to end. But the Gospel (and this site) invites us to enter that old story for ourselves and ask, “How shall we respond to this empty tomb today?”

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Day 34: Church of the Holy Sepulchre

It’s one of the most revered sites in Christianity and has been since the 4th century, particularly for Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, Coptic, Ethiopian, and Syriac Orthodox believers. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre has probably been the most prominent attraction for Christian pilgrims for centuries. 

Church of the Holy SepulchreThe church has existed in some form or other since 326 AD and the reign of the Roman Emperor Constantine. It sits over a former stone quarry which many scholars believe was originally outside the ancient walls of Jerusalem and most likely was the place where Jesus was both crucified and buried. A sepulchre is simply a small burial place, cut in rock or built of stone.

The building today is hemmed in by many other nearby structures, and there is barely a clear view of it from the street. However, inside it is a glorious domed structure with an imposing chamber in the center. Beyond the domed sanctuary there is a labyrinth of grottoes, nooks, and dedicated spaces. The site is expansive, like walking through Lucy’s wardrobe door.

But the church has some unexpected and infamous history.

The various denominational groups who govern the complex live with very sophisticated boundaries and rules. It’s an uneasy truce. Arguments and violent clashes are not uncommon.

For a long time, the Copts and Ethiopians have argued over who governs a small section of the roof of the church, and to protect their interests a Coptic monk sits on a chair to mark the claim. On a warm November day in 2008, the monk moved his chair some eight inches more into the shade, and “the benches emptied.” It turned into a nasty fistfight between the two groups claiming the space and by the time the dust settled, eleven monks were hospitalized.

Clearly, this tension and conflict makes renovations and repairs on the edifice almost impossible. Consequently, the church is in a state of decay.

Then there’s the famous immovable ladder. Some time in the early 1800’s, someone placed a ladder high up beneath a window on an outer wall of the church. The exact date of the ladder’s appearance is unknown, but there is evidence of it there in 1852. No one can say who put it there and no one dares touch it lest it set off another religious battle. We don’t need more monks in the hospital, so 170 years later, the ladder remains in place.

Chairs and ladders are signs of tension and conflict on one of the holiest sites in Christianity. It seems ironic. The One who died, was buried, and was raised from the dead right there, prayed on the night before his crucifixion for the unity of his followers (John 17). Now we have this awesome edifice that simultaneously honors the glorious love of God and draws attention to the unfathomable foolishness, hubris, and division of humanity.

It begs a question: Are there ladder and chair stories – silly things that spoil the sacred – in our marriages and families? Our workplaces or churches? It might be time for someone to bravely put that ladder away.

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Day 33: The Crucifixion

Crucifixion, finally abolished by Emperor Constantine in the 4th century AD out of veneration for Christ, was common in ancient Israel. Barbaric as it may seem, the Romans used it as a deterrent. Criminals, agitators, and rebels would be hoisted on crosses alongside travel routes, so that everyone, adults and children alike, would see them. There’s no telling how effective this was. We know today that such cruelty can breed seething anger and resentment and motivate a new generation of insurgents. But the Romans persisted.

CrucifixionIn the Israel Museum, one of the world’s leading museums, is a glass case with a small replica artifact. It’s a heel bone from the first century with a spike still driven through it. Beside the case is an artist’s rendering of how early crucifixions very likely looked, with the legs straddling the upright post and nailed to it, and the arms either bound to the patibulum (crossbeam) or nailed to it.

Few of us need a recap of the horrors of crucifixion. Beatings, whippings, and mockery would usually precede it. Offenders would then carry their own crossbeam to the place of execution. The crosses did not need to be particularly high — just high enough to hold the victim off the ground — and the death was generally a slow, painful, and drawn out affair, usually finishing with asphyxiation. If it needed to be hastened for some reason, the legs of the victim would be broken with an iron bar so they could not support the weight of the body in any way.

In the case of Jesus, John’s Gospel specifically notes that the Jews were anxious about the looming Sabbath which started at sunset that day and wanted him dead before the “holy day” began. When the soldiers came to break his legs, they found him already dead (John 19:31-33).

Who would choose such a death? Who would be willing to endure it? It’s not just the excruciating pain, but the shame. It’s not just the intense agony, but the public humiliation.

The apostle Paul, probably quoting an early Christian hymn, wrote this of Jesus:

“He existed in the form of God but did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself…. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8).

So much could be said about the crucifixion of Christ; it’s fulfillment of prophecy (e.g. Psalm 22, John 19:36), the seven sayings uttered by Jesus, and so much more. But the early Christians reframed the cross. It was not a sign of defeat, but a sign of incomparable humility and God’s incomparable love.

This horrifying spectacle was heaven’s humility in full display. Who among us would embrace such humility by intention and choice? Who would agree to such lowliness? Yet, those who take up their cross (Matthew 16:24-26) and who die daily (1 Corinthians 15:31) will receive glory (Mark 8:35). It’s the true Kingdom way.

How might you reframe the cross in your own life today?

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Day 32: Via Dolorosa

The Via Dolorosa (Latin: Way of Sorrow) is 600 meters (just 0.37 miles) of narrow streets through the old city of Jerusalem, and commemorates the pathway that Jesus took to carry the crossbeam (patibulum) of his cross to the site of his crucifixion. The route begins at Via Dolorosathe site of the former Antonia Fortress and finishes at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, site of probably both the crucifixion and burial of Christ.

The Via Dolorosa includes nine Stations of the Cross, with five more located inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. These fourteen Stations of the Cross have been in place since the late 15th century; over 500 years ago. Each one has a different image depicting Christ on the day of his crucifixion, and each station is intended to help Christian pilgrims pause and reflect deeply on the sorrow and suffering of Christ as he walked towards his death.

What strikes the pilgrim is not just the narrowness of the streets but also the undulations. The thought of carrying a heavy crossbeam up paved streets that are narrow, steep, and crowded with people is sobering. To consider the physical condition of Jesus — whipped, stripped, and bleeding — is horrifying. No wonder an onlooker named Simon of Cyrene (commemorated at Station #5) was pressed into service to help carry the crossbeam (Mark 15:21).

Walking the streets, reliving the journey, and pondering the brutality makes most else Via Dolorosa (2) fade into the background. Here, near here, or beneath here, Jesus staggered forth driven not by the jabs of the Roman soldiers nor the jeers of the Jewish crowd, but by the love of the Father for all humanity.

In 1707, the hymn writer Isaac Watts asked, “Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown?” Surely never.

One can almost hear the echoes of those ancient taunts. One can almost see the mixture of blood-lust and fear in the ancient crowd. One can almost feel the anger and hostility of those ancient accusers. And at each Station there’s a moment for the Light to break again into the darkness. Glimpses. Glimmers. Shards of light.

It would be easy to walk briskly through the Via Dolorosa in just 5-7 minutes, if the streets were somewhat empty. Many of us have done just that, repeatedly. But for those who visit that place either in body or in spirit and stay a while, the terrible weight of human cruelty and the glorious weight of God’s love begins to soak in.

Never has the contrast been greater between our sin and his holiness. Never has there been a longer walk of both his grace and our disgrace. Never has there been 2,000 feet of such human depravity and divine love in closer proximity.

In 1875, Philip Bliss penned the words of a glorious hymn. It begins: “Man of Sorrows, what a name, for the Son of God who came, ruined sinners to reclaim! Hallelujah! What a Savior!”

Walk the Way of Sorrow again today. Pause. Look and see. Listen and hear.

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