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A long journey to Easter

The Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem is eerily quiet, at a time when it is normally teeming with pilgrims and tourists.

April 9, 2020

By Will Postma

A few short months ago my wife and I were so blessed to have been able to visit Israel and Palestine. To visit the ancient town of Beer Sheva, the mosque and synagogue that are now built over the Cave of Machpelah, the Tomb of the Patriarchs, in Hebron, the ancient churches and trade routes of the Nabateans, the house of Simon the Tanner, where God majestically showed Peter that the good news of Jesus was for all people. We were fortunate to visit the church in Jerusalem built over the traditional site of Golgotha. We walked the Via Dolorosa, the way of sorrows that Jesus took, carrying his cross, to the site of his crucifixion.  

Those few short months ago, we walked the Via Dolorosa along with thousands of people from all corners of the world, each of us wanting to experience the history, the beauty, the sorrow and the faith that grounds us, still today.

Today, the streets of Jerusalem and the Via Dolorosa are eerily quiet. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built on the site of Jesus’ crucifixion, is closed for the first time since the 1300s during the Black Plague. The streets all around our world are more silent, our lives more anxious and the inequities of our public health systems to respond to the COVID-19 virus are so much more apparent.

Our PWRDF partners, serving in some of the most vulnerable parts of the world, are doing their best to prepare and learn from health officials as to how best to respond to COVID-19 while continuing to carry out programs to ensure safe water and shelter for refugees, to stop gender-based violence, to distribute food – or seeds, when there is no food to be had.   

That Jesus walked the way of sorrows, died on a cross at Golgotha and was resurrected on that Easter Day is a gift to all of us.

In the silence of our streets, in the uncertainties of our time, may we be even more resolved to draw strength and meaning from the compassion that Jesus showed to the blind, the lame, to the woman at the well in Samaria. In this Holy Week, and because of this Holy Week, may we be even more resolved to seek justice, do kindness and walk humbly with our God.  

He is risen.

He is risen indeed.  

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