We embarked Friday before dawn. Walking in silence from our guest house to Herod’s Gate, we entered the old city of Jerusalem. From there, we walked the 14 stations of the cross, following the Via Dolorosa. Each pilgrim took a turn carrying the cross and reading passages of scripture and prayers from Rev. Canon John Peterson’s A Walk in Jerusalem. We concluded our walk in the early morning light at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the holiest in Christendom. It includes both the site of Jesus’s crucifixion and his tomb. Chants from two of the six different denominations with responsibility for the church amplified the sanctity of this holy place.
Our last day also included a Eucharist in Emmaus Nicopolis, site of a ruined Byzantine church that marks where Jesus shared a meal with two of his followers after His resurrection. Luke’s Gospel says: “Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked to us on the road, while He opened to us the scriptures?” Thanks to the leadership and knowledge of Iyad and Andy, the warmth and skill of Omar, and the fellowship of a delightful group of pilgrims, our hearts are burning with gratitude and wonder for a grace-filled and blessed pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
Jennifer and Woody Turner